The indefinite industrial strike billed to commence on Monday at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, over the alleged slashing of the lecturers’ salaries by 70 percent by the management of the institution has been shelved temporarily.
The change of mind, our correspondent learnt on Sunday was as a result of the proposed visit of the Pro-chancellor of FUTO, Prof John Ofem, today to the campus to intervene in the impasse.
It was further gathered that the strike option had not been ruled out altogether as the enraged unions only halted the planned strike providing an initial time frame for a potential resolution of the issue as talks among the parties continue.
FUTO members of staff were surprised in the month of June when their salaries were slashed between 20 and 30 percents, a situation the entire workers opposed and insisted that the management must pay them one hundred percent, giving July 24, as the deadline.
Our correspondent gathered that before the expiration of the ultimatum, the pro-chancellor invited the leaderships of the unions to his home in Calabar, Cross River State for a possible resolution.
At a Joint Action Committee meeting of the three unions, the National Association of Academic Technologists , Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, and Non Academic Staff Union, FUTO branch, the incensed members of staff agreed to suspend the planned industrial strike only on temporary basis.
A source said “if our July salaries did not come hundred present, we will shut down the university irrespective of the outcome of the pro-chancellor’s visit pending when our salaries are paid in full.
At a meeting, chairman of JAC in FUTO, Ibeji Nwokoma, flanked by Franklin Matthews and Alemoh Moses, chairmen of SSANU and NASU, respectively, urged their members to remain calm and wait for the pro-chancellor’s arrival to the campus on Monday .
He said “going by the resolutions of the union members, we are only giving due regard to the Pro-chancellor by halting the planned strike action and that if our June salaries are not completed, the unions would take action, while any attempt to slash our July salaries would lead to the shutting down of the university, completely “.
According to him, all the members of staff of the other federal universities in South East and South South zones received complete salaries, saying that their own will be an exemption.