THE Imo State Council of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) Wednesday urged the Imo government to pay salaries of its members without discrimination, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The state’s chairperson of NASU, Comrade George Offoregbu, made the appeal during a protest rally held by members of union at the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB) on Wednesday in Owerri.
Expressing the union’s displeasure at the irregular payment of salaries of members in the state, Comrade Offoregbu called for a change of attitude by the state government.
“We say no to the staggered payment of salaries of our members. Government of Imo State should pay workers the salaries they owe them. This staggered payment cuts across all establishments in the state, especially in SUBEB and Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB).
“Workers deserve their wages and it should not be compromised. The idea of Mr A or Mr B receiving salary this month and another month it will go to Mr C is not acceptable to us.
“The payment should be done simultaneously. Let every worker in Imo be paid as and when due. All the workers are serving the same government,” Comrade Offoregbu said.
While responding to the recent claim by the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, that those workers not being paid salaries were ghost workers, Comrade Offoregbu said that the workers were not ghosts. He therefore challenged the state government to provide reasons and evidence why the workers would not be paid.
“Imo workers are dying every day, workers on daily medication cannot provide for their medication any longer because the funds are not there. We are suffering from stomach infrastructure. The governor should help us. He should pay our members,” Comrade Offoregbu said, adding that they had been on a three-day warning strike to seek approval for the extension of retirement of the non-teaching staff from 35 years of service and 60 years of age to 40 years and 65 years of age, respectively by the federal government as approved for teachers.
The union is also demanding a special salary scale for non-teaching staff, rural posting allowance and non-teachers conversion programme as well as ICT training to mitigate the current dearth of qualified non-teachers in the school system. It is also requesting the inclusion of non-teaching staff on the SUBEB board.
He said their demand became necessary as the non-teaching staff were also professionals and possess equivalent certificates and experience as their counterparts in the teaching profession, just as they play vital roles in the education of pupils and students.
The protesting workers carried placards with inscriptions such as: “Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere,” “I am Not A Ghost Worker, Pay Me For The Months Owed” And “NASU Rejects Discrimination Policy,” “Is It A Crime To Be A Non-Teaching Staff? What Is Good For The Teachers Is Good For The Non-Teaching Staff” and “Discriminatory Tendencies Will Destroy The School System.”