Members of non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of the Osun State-owned tertiary institutions have ended their five months industrial strike after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government.
The affected schools are: Osun State Polytechnic, Iree; Osun State College of Technology, Esa-oke; Osun State College of Education in Ila Orangun; and Osun State College of Education, Ilesa.
NASU members have embarked in an industrial action five months ago due to inability of government to pay them. This was occasioned by global drop in price of crude oil which eventually affected nation and by extension, the State revenue.
At the event, Governor Rauf Aregbesola noted that while the dwindling revenue from the federation accounts would continue to affect the payment of salaries, pensions and critical expenditures of government, his administration will not relent at improving the welfare of its workforce and make life more meaningful for the people.
Aregbesola who used the occasion to debunk the rumour on plans to either merge or scrap any of the state owned institutions, expressed satisfaction over what he described as high sense of maturity displayed by the leadership of the union, pledging that government would do all it could to fulfil her side of the agreement.
”The issue of merger has never been raised by this government. Nobody is going to merge any of the schools. The speculation is only being peddled by people who want to fan embers of discord.
“I can assure you that nobody will be victimised, the governor himself is a comrade who is never vindictive. For him to have given his words that you will be paid some days after you resume work shows he is not vindictive.”
The Governor called for cooperation of the workers in moving the state forward as it enters a new phase of looking inward on how to increase the state finances and depend less on the federal allocation.
“I want to use this opportunity to charge you to be committed to our Internally Generated Revenue and assist government in blocking leakages. We should all face the reality of the situation we have in the country. There is glut in the oil industry and we need to look inward.”
“We need to really increase our internal revenue for us to be able to meet our obligations, government cannot do it alone so this is the kind of support that we need from our institutions, as our financial situations improve, every other part will be considered.”
On behalf of the unions of all the four state-owned tertiary institutions, the Chairman, Joint Negotiating Council, Comrade Olusoji Fasipe commended Governor Aregbesola for his rare understanding and patience despite the condition attached to the industrial action.
He urged government not to renege on its promises of paying them within the stipulated seven days of resumption, adding that the strike has been suspended in line with the agreement made with the government.
He further assured the government of the union supporting the administration in repositioning the state economy to surmount its financial challenges.
“We are ready to do our best to ensure that the state economy is revamped. We have friendly and fatherly people in government and they have been playing the role as expected and it is our belief that they would not relent in giving us more support.
“We suspend this strike based on the agreement reached with government to pay our salaries within seven days of resumption. We are optimistic and we are returning to work because our governor has emphatically promised to pay our salaries within seven days”, Comrade Fadipe said.