Fear grips UNIPORT Management over warning strike threat by staff

By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi

Information reaching TPCN indicates that the management of the University of Port Harcourt is not comfortable over the impending warning strike threatened by the staff of the institution.

The staff of the university, under the auspices of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), UNIPORT chapter, yesterday, threatened to embark on a warning strike from Monday, October 5 to Friday, October 9, 2020, over an alleged failure by the federal government to implement its part of the bargain it had with them on salary issues, including minimum wage.

Speaking to TPCN today, a source in UNIPORT said since the staff made public its resolve to go on a warning strike next week, fear has gripped the management of the university while the atmosphere there is now replete with heightened tension.

“There is a feeling of uncertainty and fear here since yesterday that SSANU and NASU said they will go on strike next week. The management is not happy about it because they were planning to reopen next week for academic activities to resume but with this warning strike, we may not resume with other universities.

“And you know the crisis that this university is emerging from –the issue of succession of the former vice-chancellor. That problem is still there if not that the government used wisdom to appoint an overseer. So, as long as the management is concerned, this is not the right time for the staff to go on strike even though they’re demanding for their rights. The management is afraid because they know that the federal government will not be happy with them if the staff go on strike. There is palpable fear among the management because they know the negative impact such a strike will have on this university. That is the situation now,” the source said.

On whether the management is making any effort to reconcile with the Senior Staff Association and NASU to avert the proposed warning strike, the source, who said he is also a member of Academic Staff Universities, UNIPORT chapter, said: “Yes, I’m aware that the management is in touch with the leadership of both SSANU and NASU with the intention of convincing them to suspend the warning strike for now. Although I don’t know all the details, I’m aware that both parties are talking. I believe the PRO will brief you guys better. He’s the right person to talk to the press. Why I decided to talk to you people is because I’m involved as a member of ASUU and I’m not happy. The federal government has no reason to owe us or fail to implement the minimum wage and other agreements they had with us.”

TPCN could not reach the Public Relations Officer of UNIPORT as his line was not going as at the time of filing this report.

Members of the Senior Staff Association and Non-Academic Staff Union of UNIPORT had, yesterday, vowed to go on a warning strike from Monday next week as a way of protesting against the alleged non-payment of their salary arrears and minimum wage by the federal government.