By Frank Ulom
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, University of Cross River, UNICROSS (formerly CRUTECH) Wednesday, April 19, 2023, staged a peaceful protest demanding their 3 months’ salary arrears.
The NASU members, CONVERSEER reports staged the protest in the Calabar campus of UNICROSS
Apart from their salary arrears, they also demanded the removal of the Vice-Chancellor of UNICROSS, Prof. Augustine Angba.
The protesting NASU members who marched to the school’s administrative block were carrying placards with inscriptions: “Pay Us Our Three Months Salary Arrears”, “We Have Become Frustrated Because of Non-Payment of Our Three Months’ Salary” while demanding their arrears be paid to date “if the management of the institution is interested in making peace”.
The Chairman of NASU, UNICROSS chapter, Mr Odidi Williams, said the protest is a peaceful one and did not record any damage, adding that it is just an express their anger based on how the institution is treating them.
Odidi who spoke shortly after the union’s congress held at the school’s New Cafeteria, said despite the messages sent to the management of the institution concerning the hard times faced by members, nothing was been done to lift their hopes.
The NASU Chairman maintained that the union has already taken a particular date that if nothing is done to salvage the situation, its members would still be called out to protest.
“This is April and we are yet to be paid the arrears of three months’ salary, plus March, and if we are not paid before April elapses, it means the government would have been owing us for five months.
“The VC has tried his best but unfortunately his best isn’t good enough.”
Meanwhile, one of the protesting NASU members who spoke on the issue demanded at least payment of two months’ salaries so they can fend for themselves and their families.
When the protesting members of the union marched to the administrative block, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, DVC Academic, Prof. Joy Etiewo, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, DVC Administration, Prof. Ekeng Ekefre, on behalf of the management of the institution appealed for calm, promising that the message would be conveyed to the appropriate authority for a response.
However, the Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof. Augustine Angba who spoke via the telephone stated that the management was doing everything humanly possible to ensure that all the backlogs of arrears of salaries owed are cleared.
The VC called for calm, saying that plans are underway to clear the debt, “even if it is half of what was owed.
“What they are talking about is three-month arrears, which amounts to about a billion naira. The school allocation per month is not up to five hundred million naira.
“We had a meeting with them on how the money can be paid, unfortunately, the agreement that we had was reneged and they ran to the streets to carry placards to protest.
“This was part of the reasons why we didn’t want them to go on strike, this is part of the consequences of the strike. No student paid school fees throughout the strike period. This, to some extent, has affected our internally generated revenue”, Angba said.
CONVERSEER gathered that the institution used to receive funding from the Cross River State Government until a decade ago when the Government stopped the funding.