Abia varsity ASUU commences strike over 11-month salary arrears

As the state government has been unable to pay the academic and non-academic staff unions at Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu, their 11-month salary arrears, members of these unions have persisted in abstaining from office.

It was learned that the employees had given the management till December 31 to settle their salary arrears through their union representatives.

Despite rumours that some lecturers had promised to make up the lost weeks of lectures, ABSU students, who were expected to return to class after the Christmas and New Year holidays, have not yet returned due to industrial action.

The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), ABSU, Uturu chapter, Dr. Chidi Mbah, in a monitored interview, confirmed that they embarked on the industrial action because of an 11- month salary arrears owed members.

He said: “We are on strike based on issues, especially because of the 11- month salary arrears.

“It cuts across 2011, 2012 and 2022. Since the incumbent government came to power, it has been up and doing. They have been releasing subventions for the university to augment.

“However, we know that the subvention isn’t enough because the wage bill is about N320million, while Governor Alex Otti releases N100million per month, which was what he inherited from his predecessor.

“But since he (Otti) came onboard, he has been releasing that money regularly, but we have a deficit of N220million.

“According to the management, the revenue generated by the school to augment whatever the state government gives, unfortunately, isn’t enough to pay all workers because of the high level of payment we have at the epic of the workers level.

“Since the assumption of the new government, we have not been owed salary, although the December salary was paid two weeks ago; some have received, while others are yet to receive theirs.

“Government is a continuum, we have already written to the state government and the management. We did so since last September 26.”

“We told them that we would down tools if nothing was done until December 31. This is why we have embarked on strike.

“We are not fighting the management or the state government; we only want the state government to hear our voice. We want them to know that we are in pains; things are more okay with us. They should come to our aid.

“We were supposed to meet with the state government, but for the date that coincided with the Supreme Court’s judgment and since then, we have not secured another meeting date with the state government.

“The governor since coming onboard has been paying our subventions and has shown goodwill by inviting us for discussion.”