The College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Federal College of Education (FCET) Umunze, Anambra state, Friday, embarked on three weeks warning strike to press home their demand for payment of seven years outstanding emoluments.
The COEASU chairman FCET, Dr Churchill Okonkwo, explained that the industrial action became necessary following reluctance of the management to pay the backlogs after several years of pleading and negotiations by the union.
According to Okonkwo, the strike commenced on Tuesday after an extensive meeting of members of the union, who expressed displeasure over indebtedness to them by the management.
He urged the parents and guardians to quickly withdraw their wards from the institution as academic calendar had been affected by the action.
He said, “We are here to notify you that lecturers of Federal College of Education, Umunze have commenced a three weeks warning strike. We believe we want to let the public know, especially parents of our students who may want to believe that their children were in school undergoing academic activities to know that no academic activity is going on in the college now.
“The management of the college has been trying to deny the strike, but truth is that the students are simply staying idle in school, and we believe it is a bit harmful to leave students on campus to stay idle without any activity. You know that by allowing them to remain idle could predispose them to insecurity and crisis.
“Mobilization of academic staff who go for supervision for teaching practice, that is the daily BTA for their mobilisation has not been paid since 2017. There is also the TETFUND intervention in teaching practice, which helps to augment whatever the college gives for teaching practice supervision, and in Umunze it has not been accessed since 2016.
“We have been patient for too long, yet this money doesn’t get paid every year. We have even sent a peace committee made up of former acting provosts to meet the provost of the college, Dr Tessy Okoli, but she has refused to budge. For seven years now we have not been paid that mobilization, yet the provost has remained adamant. That is why we decided to go on strike.”
However, a short notice circulated by the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Mr. Sam Otti, insisted that there was no strike, while also advising students to prepare and participate for their end of semester examination which ought to have commence same Tuesday.
Okonkwo, however, said the industrial action disrupted the examination even though the management was still coercing some lecturers and Head of Departments to return to classroom for the purpose of organising the examinations.