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Tertiary Institutions unions threaten Kaduna State with strike action over 12 years’ unsettled issues

…65-year Retirement Age for academic staff is one of issues.

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

The Joint Unions of Tertiary Institutions of Kaduna State (JUTIKS) on Wednesday threatened industrial action over about 12-year “unsettled issues” with the Kaduna State Government.

Chairman of the joint unions, Noah Danlami, who announced the threat in a statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna, is also against the 65-year retirement age approved by the state government for academic staff in tertiary institutions, with effect from 2010.

Danlami identified one of the issues as the non-implementation of appropriate salary structures for academic and non-academic staff of tertiary institutions that came into effect in January, 2010.

He identified the salary structures as the Consolidated Polytechnic and Colleges of Education Academic Salary Structure (CONPCASS) for academic staff and the Consolidated Tertiary Educational Institutions Salary Structure (CONTEDISS) for non-academic staff.

He said that the state government was currently paying only 80 per cent of the obsolete Consolidated Tertiary Institution Salary Structure (CONTISS), which has continued to dampen the moral of the staff. 

“The consequence of this poor remuneration in our tertiary institutions has been a massive brain drain, especially academics in search of greener pastures in other institutions in the country,” he said.

He said that the second lingering issue was the non-implementation of the 65-year retirement age approved by the state government for academic staff in tertiary institutions, with effect from 2010.

He described the developments as “sheer lack of political-will and misplacement of priority” by the state government towards its own tertiary institutions.

“It is regrettable that, despite the series of reforms aimed at boosting the education sector, the state has not deemed it fit to motivate teachers and other staff of tertiary institutions.

“The government has not paid lecturers appropriate salaries nor improved the facilities in its tertiary institutions. We are, therefore, demanding the immediate implementation of the appropriate salary structures in all our tertiary institutions.

“The state government should also implement the 65-year retirement age without further delay and increase the staff strength in our tertiary institutions, especially academic staff in commensurate with the students’ population.

“The government should raise the budgetary allocation of tertiary institutions and ensure immediate removal of all charges paid by students of tertiary institutions from Government Treasury Single Account policy,” he said.

According to him, failure to comply with the demands will leave the unions with no option than to embark on strike, earlier suspended in 2014, on the promise that the issues will be addressed.

On the mass sack of workers in the state, the chairman described the development as “very unfortunate and untimely,” considering the spate of insecurity and high level of poverty in the state.

He called on the government to halt the exercise immediately to prevent the state from falling deeper into a state of absolute lawlessness due to rising poverty, adding that the unions also view the current emphasis on urban road renewal and reconstruction as unnecessary, given the hard economic conditions being faced by the poor and vulnerable in the state.

Danlami said that huge capital resources were being sunk into these projects at the expense of other sectors, adding that rural roads would strengthen the economy much more than urban roads. 

The joint union consisted of Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, Shehu Idris College of Health Sciences Makarfi, and Kaduna State College of Nursing and Midwifery.

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