As the industrial action embarked upon by the National body of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), still lingers, the Niger Delta University, NDU branch, has threatened to embark on another industrial action if the Bayelsa Government failed in resolving all pending issues with the Union.
The Chairman of ASUU-NDU branch, Dr Tonbara Kingdom, disclosed this at a press briefing held at the University campus, Wilberforce Island, on Wednesday.
He identified the unresolved issues to include, “non implement of promotions between 2015 to 2019, non-payment of promotion arrears, non-payment of annual increment since 2015 till date.”
Others are non-payment of fellowship grants for over 10 years, non-payment of pensions from 2018 till date, and the lack of residential accommodation for lecturers within the university community.
Kingdom, who was flanked by the ASUU-NDU branch Secretary, Dr Ebi Baraka, and other Executives at the press conference, noted that the Union had employed several means to get the attention of the state government, including writing several letters and sending traditional rulers to meet with government officials, but all to no avail.
The ASUU-NDU chairperson, who lamented that the academic staff of the state-owned university were getting frustrated and tired of the government, said they were yet to benefit from the new minimum wage, as they have been receiving the same salary since 2009.
He said: “We want to call on the Bayelsa Government to quickly resolve the pending and nagging issues of poor funding and staff welfare for the Niger Delta University, to avert another industrial crisis immediately the national ASUU strike is suspended.
“We have written several letters and they have not invited us, we are also using political solutions. We have been calling traditional rulers and politicians, who are in government, to assist us in meeting and discussing with those concerned to see how to avert the looming strike.
“ We don’t want a situation after the Federal Government has solved the problems of our Union at the national level, we come back for another strike, it is something we can avoid if government is proactive.
“We have been showing so much understanding but the government is not reciprocating. Our members are getting frustrated and tired and are saying government should use this opportunity to resolve these issues before the national strike is suspended.
“The salary we are earning is the salary we have been earning since 2009, all the so-called salary increment and minimum wage did not affect our salary, annual increment and promotion we did not benefit, among others,” Kingdom said.