Lecturers of the College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, have embarked on an indefinite strike for being owned salary arrears and pensions allegedly worth N900 million.
They also chided the Ekiti State Government for paying them what they termed “amputated salaries.”
They condemned what they said was an excessive deduction of taxes, saying it had inflicted hardship on them.
While embarking on the strike, the teachers demanded payment of six months arrears of salaries owed them and increase of the subvention to the institution.
Coming under the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, the teachers demanded the payment of N900 million arrears of pensions and gratuities of retired staff.
According to a communique issued at the end of its emergency congress, signed by COEASU Chairman, A. B. Olokesusi, and Secretary, Dare Owolabi, the workers advocated a negotiation of the tax regime before its implementation.
The union also expressed its displeasure over the refusal of the state government to grant them audience despite three separate letters to the state governor, Ayo Fayose, on the issues raised.
“While we agree that payment of tax is a must for all citizens of a nation, the union also believed that tax payment is subject to negotiation.
“A situation where all allowances-leave bonus, research allowance, teaching practice allowance and so on are taxed is highly provocative and seriously condemnable.
“Apart from this, the state government has been paying amputated salaries to members over the years since the monthly subvention is far below what can cater for the entire workers’ salaries.”
Stating its resolutions in the communiqué, the union demanded that the college should stop further deduction of tax arrears of the salaries of members.
“That the management should with immediate effect explain to the Union the reason for over 120 per cent tax deduction from salaries of members,” it resolved.
“That the arrears of tax so deducted be refunded to members without any delay.
“That (the) union condemns in strong terms the unnecessary burden being placed on workers who have not received six months salaries due to the failure of the government.
“That the union hereby rejects in totality the payment of amputated monthly subvention to the college by the state government.”
In addition to the demands, the union called for the increase in the monthly subvention to the college to enable the management pay full salaries to the entire workers, while the state government should commence the payment of backlogs of gratuity and pensions.
The union noted that +pension and gratuity has been paid in the last 30 years to retirees of the college.
“That in view of the fact that the union has exhausted all avenues to redress the obnoxious tax deduction and based on the failure of the state government to meet with the union on the negotiation table, the union therefore agreed and resolved to embark on an indefinite industrial action until the government revert to the previous tax being paid,” the communique also highlighted.
The state government is yet to react to the communique.