The Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe, Southern-Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Dr Seiyaboh Idah, has appealed to staff of the institution to suspend their ongoing indefinite strike action in the interest of students.
Three unions in the institution embarked on industrial action early this month to protest shortfalls in their salary since 2015 and called on the Federal Government to intervene on their behalf in the interest of the institution.
Speaking with journalists at the institution’s liaison office in Yenagoa on Tuesday, the rector urged the staff to return to work so that the matter could be resolved.
Dr Idah said the major cause of the salary shortfall in the institution was the drop in personnel appropriations by the Federal Government.
He said: “Since I assumed office in August 2016, one of the key challenges I inherited was this salary shortfall, but I took up the challenge and began to work on it for the interest of our staff and the institution.
“This issue was there before I assumed office in 2015. Our personnel appropriation was N915, 266, 508, but in 2016, the appropriation dropped to N855, 775,185 and that happened before I came in in August of that year.
“We made several presentations and several visits to those that are concerned including the Ministry of Education, budget and finance among others, and we are still waiting for their responses.
“We normally submit our budget proposal to the National Assembly, but most of the time, appropriation is not exactly what you proposed.
“In 2016, when I assumed office, we were receiving 60 per cent of our salaries; but in 2018, the appropriation rose to N1, 056, 732, 309 and the percentage of our salaries also increased to over 80. This is something we should commend the Federal Government for.
“The ongoing strike by our staff has shut down all activities in the institution which is why I’m appealing to them to suspend the strike in the interest of the students,” he said.
But Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) in the institution, Mr Charles Amgbari, vowed not to call-off the strike until the salary shortfall is addressed by the government.