ABA—Immediate past chairman of the Governing Council of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Dr. Chuku Wachuku, has accused the staff unions of opposing every move to sanitize the institution.
Wachuku, who spoke to Vanguard in Aba, said the staff unions were not committed to addressing some of the problems of the polytechnic and never allowed the council to work since it was inaugurated.
According to him, “the governing council was sworn in in June 2016 and we inherited eight months’ salary arrears, but the staff unions never allowed us to work. The unions preferred confrontation to dialogue.
“Yes, salary was owed, but government is working hard to ensure that all workers are paid. We are not unaware of the dwindling revenue of the government. You have to situate the matter with the entire workforce of Nigeria and relate it to the Abia workforce.
“So, workers in Abia poly are not in isolation as to what is happening in the country. From the way the union leaders conducted themselves, we began to wonder if it is only payment of salaries that is causing all these animosity. Was it against this governor or governing council?
“It is on record that during the tenure of the last governing council, the unions endured over 11 months’ salary arrears. I’m not saying it is good to owe workers, but they never went on strike or shut the gates.
“A situation where some union leaders were writing that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s case at the Supreme Court is almost over cannot be taken as unionism. It is targeted at influencing the case against the governor. What has the governor done to them? He paid off a N2 billion loan for the polytechnic.
“Our offence is that we insist that the right things must be done. When you overdo things, it means there is a hidden plan to achieve an end. How can a union official be spreading sentiments that the chairman of the governing council, the registrar and the students union president are from Ngwa. Is this unionism?
“Before we came, the bursary was without records, administration was porous with too many leakages. We have an avalanche of staff whose employments are irregular. The council was determined to sanitize the system. We had the problem of bloated staff strength and other rots in the system.
“The unions resisted efforts to address these problems. Imagine a situation where there exists over 40 people working at the polytechnic bookshop, what were they doing?”