Plateau poly kicks as workers cry out over ’26-month unpaid stipends’
The management of Plateau State Polytechnic in Barkin-Ladi has dismissed claims that the institution is owing casual workers 26-month stipends.
Casual workers at the institution had staged a protest and accused the management of owing them their N10,000 monthly stipend for 26 months.
They also alleged exclusion from employment opportunities.
NAN reports that the protesters, clad in black cloths, blocked all entrances into the institution while carrying placards with different inscriptions.
The protest, which started on Monday, crippled academic activities within the institution.
But speaking at a briefing on Tuesday, John Dawam, the rector, said the institution is only owing the casual workers 13-month stipend.
“I’m pleased to address you this afternoon and to put the record straight before the public on the ongoing protest by some of the casual workers of our institution,” he said.
“It is not true that the polytechnic management is owing them stipends arrears for 26 months; it is for 13 months.
“When we came on board in 2019, we inherited 16 months arrears of these stipends and we were able to reduce it including that of our time to 13 months.
“We are still owing because of the challenges we faced due to the advent of COVID-19 and the incessant strike actions which affected our operations and our revenue generation.”
The rector also denied the alleged exclusion, citing the latest employment at the institution.
“We have 446 casual workers in the polytechnic and when approval came for employment, we were alloted 202 slots. We were told to give 30 per cent, which is 61 slots to the casual workers,” he added.
“I wasn’t pleased with that decision and I personally went to the Head of Service to complain and he graciously added 51 slots for them.
“We have also allocated 10 per cent of the slots to our host communities where the casual workers largely come from.
“So, in total, we gave 130 casual workers substantive employment in the recent recruitment.”
The rector alleged that the ongoing protest by the workers was politically motivated.
He also clarified why the casual workers were temporarily disengaged by the institution.
“We decided to temporarily disengage them because we don’t want the backlog of their stipends to accumulate, pending when goverment will consider them for a substantive employment,” he said.
Dawam appealed to the protesting workers to embrace dialogue and allow academic activities in the institution to continue.
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