The Lagos State government will today (Friday) hold a peace meeting with representatives of the striking workers of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Morning Mail has learnt.
The meeting, at the instance of the government, will hold at the Conference Room of the Deputy Governor’s office.
Expected at the meeting on the government’s side are the Deputy Governor Idiat Oluranti Adebule, and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tunji Bello.
The meeting is expected to bring to an end the failed strong-arm tactics of the state government, a Labour leader told Morning Mail on Thursday night.
The government had filed an ex parte motion against the three unions in the Polytechnic at the National Industrial Court (NIC), praying for an order to declare as illegal the strike, which began on August 1.
However, Justice F.I. Kola Olalere of the court declined the prayer, but directed the Claimants to put the Defendants on notice.
He then adjourned the matter to August 15.
Apparently dissatisfied with the outcome of the court application, the school authorities ordered the workers to resume on Monday, and further directed appropriate officers to open attendance registers in all departments and units, to enforce compliance.
However, the workers have remained defiant to date, saying that they would resume only if their demands were met, or the court orders them to, at the next hearing on May 15.
One of the demands of the workers is the removal of the Rector, Mr. Samuel Sogunro.
Today’s meeting, starting at 11.00am, is hoped to resolve the matter and put it to a mutually-agreeable end, one of the Labour leaders told Morning Mail.
“If they continue using strong arm tactics, we shall meet them in court. For now, the struggle continues,” the Labour leader told Morning Mail.
In separate interviews, the Deputy Registrar, Information and Public Relations, of the institution, Mr Olanrewaju Kuye, and the Chairman of the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), Semiu Fasasi, had told Morning Mail that both parties were waiting on the industrial court next Tuesday for direction in the strike.
Kuye told Morning Mail: “The issues in dispute have not been resolved. We await the decision of the court. We hope that everything will be resolved there, or as a consequence of what may happen in the court.”
In a statement to the workers, the NASU chairman had on Monday, declared that the strike would not be called off until the matters in dispute were satisfactorily addressed, or the court gave a contrary directive. He also spoke of the possibility of citing the school management for contempt of court.
“The protest continues tomorrow with better strategies and fanfare!,” he said, adding: “There is nothing like resumption until court decides on the 15th August 2017 when we meet in court if the Judge so ruled. The fraudulent Attendance Register they have done will be used against them in Court when the case of Contempt of Court is established against them.”
He accused the school authority of feeding the state government “with lies about our agitations through their GRAND STANDING and OPPRESSIVE style of administration.”
Fasasi added: “But we shall continue to impress on the Government to see the light about our demands; paramount of which is the restoration of peace back to the Polytechnic by removing Mr. Sogunro Samuel O. as the Rector.”
Calling for the removal of the Rector, Fasasi declared: “ON SOGUNRO MUST GO WE STAND!”
He argued that the Governing Council of the institution had “lost of direction and purpose, thus milking the Polytechnic purse through unnecessary sitting allowances for their endless, pretentious and deceitful meetings on CONTISS 15 Migration.”
The Labour leader continued: “Also disheartening is the Governing Council’s deliberately cover up on our allegations of maladministration and misappropriation of the Polytechnic funds without a pinch of investigation into the various allegations raised before passing a NO CASE NO ISSUE decision on the Rector.
“Instead they are busy collaborating with Management on how to punish and discipline the sources that leaked the frauds, nepotistic and corrupt practices of Sogunro’s Administration.”
He told Morning Mail that the workers unions had sent a petition to the Tertiary Edudation Trust Fund (TETFUND) on allegations bordering on financial misconduct.
According to him, the management of TETFUND has already “raised queries which they (LASPOTECH authorities) are yet to responded to for over two weeks.”
He said further: “Monies collected for research projects such as fabrications were never done, monies collected for seminars and conferences were pocketed and were never attended.”
He continued: “Instead of even distribution of TETFUND allocations, nepotism became the order of the day, cohorts were made to benefit two, three, four times when majority were considered enemies of the administration.”
He further alleged that TETFUND monies were deposited into some private dedicated bank accounts.
LASPOTECH, workers await court decision on strike.
When contacted, Kuye promised to respond to the allegations but he failed to do so at press time. He is yet to respond to the enquiry, four days after.