The State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye, said that the demand by the Polytechnic Ibadan staff was not in line with the minimum wage stipulated by the national salaries and wages commission.
He added that the Polytechnic Ibadan staff came to the negotiation table with the wage table of Lagos state, and while other state-owned tertiary institutions were on the same page with the government on the minimum wage, only the Polytechnic Ibadan was proposing a different wage formula.
He said: “I must let you know that the strike action is not justified in any way, there is no basis for it to be candid.
“The government directed the governing councils of each school to engage them on the discussion on the issue of the minimum wage, and as at December, all other tertiary institutions have agreed with us on the issue of the minimum wage.”
The Polytechnic, Ibadan workers unions commenced an indefinite strike on Monday, 11th January, 2021 alleging the failure of the state government to implement the Federal Government approved minimum wage for all Nigerian workers.
Olaleye condemned the strike that has paralysed the academic activities of the institution, he said: “there’s no need for the strike and it’s non-adherent to due process.
“Any moment from now, we are going to sign the agreement hopefully this week. It is only Polytechnic of Ibadan that disagreed, and their disagreement was not based on any law or circular.”
He stated that the staff of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, were insisting on the salary scale of Lagos state
government, thereby rejecting the Federal government salary scale.
Olaleye explained: “In actual fact, what the state government has proposed to them is in line with the circular of the national salaries and wages commission but the team that led their negotiation came with a table of Lagos state.
“And they said we should adopt Lagos state table as the basis for the minimum wage, and we told them that we can only go by the provisions of the law the circular from the federal government which all other schools accepted except the polytechnic of Ibadan.
“I want to advise you go to them if they have any document to back up their position, let them present it to you and let them show it if their proposal is in line with the national minimum wage act and the Federal Government circular on the consolidated salaries of the tertiary institutions, let them show it to you.
“So, it is not justified, and again, at 5 am, the union locked up the gate of the school even before the congress of the union and the congress is supposed to give them the go-ahead for the strike but without waiting for the congress, some union members just went ahead to lock up the school gates and prevent students from writing their exams which they started last year.
“However, we will still continue to engage them to let them see reason. As at the time all of us should be on the way for Christmas on the 24th, we still held meeting with them here with the council members and the management.
“And we asked them to present any circular to back up their claim, we said they should let us look at it, but the next thing we heard this morning was they have embarked on strike. What is the justification for that?”
Olaleye then assured that further discussion will be held with the workers’ unions to quickly end the strike.