By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The Bauchi State Government has expressed worries that a simple demand of N23 million meant to augment salaries increment of some staff at the state’s five tertiary institutions arising from their promotions could climax to the institutions embarking on strike action.
The state Commissioner of Education, Dr. Aliyu Usman Tilde said that however, the most disturbing phenomenon of the strike called upon by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the institutions was its directive for all the staff to go on strike, while negotiations on issues at stake were ongoing with the institutions.
The commissioner who was in the state government’s team headed by the state Head of Service in a dialogue with JAC over the strike, told a press conference Wednesday of their surprise with the strike when negotiations are ongoing between the State Government and Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the five institutions.
“We were very surprise Tuesday when we learnt about the strike embarked upon by staff of the institutions while negotiations are ongoing between the two sides of the divide on the issues at stake which are salaries increment to back up the promotions of staff and some irregularities in the payment of salaries of some staff with the schools”.
Tilde gave the breakdown of the variations increment on the staff promotions in respect of some staff of the state tertiary institutions namely Adamu Tafawa Balewa College of Education, Kangere N1.3million; Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi N6.6 million; Bauchi State College of Agriculture N2.8 million; AD Rufa’i College of Education, Legal and General Studies N5.4 million and Aminu Saleh college of Education, Azare N8.4 million.
Dr. Aliyu Tilde further explained that the last institution submitted the amount due for the promoted staff salaries on Thursday 14th July 2022, as Wednesday 20th July, 2022 was slated for the dialogue continuation between government and ATAP when prior to the date, Tuesday, the institutions commenced the strike.
The State Head of Service, Alhaji Yahuza Adamu Ningi who heads the government negotiation team had earlier told the press that the joint committee of the institutions took them by surprise, as they have previously almost thrashed out the issues at stake for the committee members for report back to their respective institutions when eventually the strike was commenced upon on Tuesday.
“We adjourned the negotiation meeting with full confidence of the JAC team that when we resume Wednesday 20th July, 2022 there would be nothing like strike action from the five tertiary institutions. So, we would call on the JAC team for finalization of our negotiations immediately after this press briefing for amicable settlement of the perceived dispute”, the HOS said.
“So, we did not even think of reaching this undesirable stage of strike when we last adjourned negotiations. Our consideration was that the various MDAs in Bauchi, including staff of the five institutions formed what is known as the Government, and we are all working for the state, so we would sit with JAC to finalize our negotiations, and we would definitely reach a truce”.
Also corroborating the State Accountant General, Dr. Sa’idu Abubakar said that there is no month in any calendar year that the state government has not pay salaries of its civil servants, including pensions, contractual and casual staff whose services are needed to fill in some professional gaps.
Dr. Abubakar stated that any public employee who is not regularly getting his monthly salaries or allowances in case of casual staff should report to the commissioner, permanent secretary, human resources director, staff officer or any management official of his/her MDA for scrutiny and subsequent settlement of such.
The Accountant described as mischief the ongoing strike by the staff of the state five tertiary institutions because, as he puts it, “The striking staff of the institutions were given three weeks by the government’s negotiation team to produce the list of their promoted staff in order to verify with the corresponding promotion increment amount N23 million they already produced for government approval, but failed to adhere to the request.
He frowned, “If the state government could direct civil servants grade level from 1 – 13 to stay at home without reporting to duty for over a year without missing regular monthly salaries and government doesn’t give any complaint during the period, but it is when only 200 out of 38, 000 civil servants with problems in salary payment that government could be blamed of not paying salaries, this is unjustifiable by any right thinking person”.