Workers across the country on Monday marked the May Day, with rallies in some parts of the Federation.
Labour leaders and their teeming members used the day to stage rallies, during which they pressed home afresh, their demands for the implementation of their existing agreement with the Federal Government which include the minimum wage and other improved welfare conditions.
Here in UNAAB, Union leaders also joined their counterparts nationwide to advance the cause of their members, in an exclusive chat with UNAAB Bulletin.
Baring the minds of his members, the Chairman, UNAAB Branch of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Mr. Abdul-sobur Salaam, stressed the need for President
Goodluck Jonathan to tackle the implementation of the N18,000 new minimum wage “head-long”.
He pointed out that a situation whereby implementations were done only at the Federal level, with little or no commitment at the State and Council tiers of government would not only amount to scratching the issue on the surface, but will also be counter-productive.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNAAB Branch, Dr. Olusiji Sowande, observed with serious concern that the Federal Government had only implemented “a fraction” of the agreement reached with the Union in 2009.
According to him, the Federal Government is yet to address and implement the vital aspect of the agreement which include University autonomy, funding and better conditions of service.
He advised that workers demands and their welfares should not be handled with levity but should be of utmost priority to all levels of government.
Also speaking, the former Deputy Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ogun State Chapter, Comrade Emmanuel Bankole, charged President Jonathan to reciprocate the enviable support which the teeming Nigerian workers gave him through their massive votes at the last Presidential polls.
Comrade Bankole, who is the University’s Administrator for Environmental Management Unit (EMU) and immediate Past Chairman of SSANU, said the only way the nation’s helmsman could reciprocate workers support at the polls is to look beyond the N18,000 minimum wage in bettering their lots.
For the National Association of Academic Technicians (NAAT), the UNAAB Branch Chairman, Comrade (Engr.) Adebukola Adetiloye, also reiterated the need for the full implementation of the new minimum wage by all tiers of government.
He was however more apt on the urgent need for the apex government to improve electricity supply to the nation in the next two years, noting that epileptic power supply had been hampering smooth operations of practical activities in the laboratories by his members.
He stressed that the situation (erratic power supply) would have been worse, but for the proactive intervention of the University Management.