University of Lagos, UNILAG lecturers embarked on a sensitisation rally over the issue of “no PhD, no promotion”.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos chapter, has called on the management of the institution to review their current conditions of service or face an indefinite strike.
The Chairman of the union, Dr Adelaja Odukoya, gave the warning during a sensitisation rally by members of the association on the university’s campus on Wednesday.
Odukoya told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines that the ASUU members were agitating the non-democratisation of departmental headship and the replacement of the conditions of service.
He said the members were not comfortable with the “no PhD no promotion or confirmation” syndrome instituted by the management of the 52-year-old university.
“What we are doing today is a peaceful sensitisation rally with our members and not a protest.
“ We are going from one department to the other pulling our members for this struggle as we feel.
“We feel we should create awareness around the campus so that management will not say they were taken unawares,” he told NAN.
“This issue has been on ground since four years ago during the era of late Prof. Adetokumbo Sofoluwe.
“During his time, the current Vice-Chancellor was the then Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
“Our members made these issues known to management and held several consultations with them in a bid to look into all of them.
“Since I equally took over leadership in March, these issues have also been in the front burner of my operations as head.
“Until 48 hour ago when I had the last negotiation with management, they kept telling us that they will look into it and yet nothing tangible has come out of it.”
Odukoya said the issues had been tabled before the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association which, he noted, would be having their meeting from Dec. 6 to Dec. 8, at the University of Lagos.
According to him, in the event of failure to resolve the issues during the period, the members will be left with no choice than to embark on indefinite strike.
“This is a responsible union and that is why we are seeking means of dialogue to resolve the issues before now.
“We wrote to the management informing them of this rally because we do not want to be seen as going against the law or be seen as being violent.
“We are equally mindful of the welfare of our students who are preparing for their examination currently.
“We are not interested in strike. What we are demanding for is that the management should urgently look into all the issues brought before them and come up with a peaceful resolution,” he said.
He noted that other issues such as accumulated leave, arbitrariness in promotion criteria, treating the academic staff like second class citizens of the institution would henceforth be resisted.
Odukoya said that a situation whereby professional grades of lecturers were tied to appointment were also among issues that they were demanding an urgent review.
Addressing the rally, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Research), Prof. Babajide Alo, said that there was no need for the rally as most of the issues brought before management was already being looked into.
Mr Ben Anosike, Secretary-General, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria University (SSANU), University of Lagos chapter, said that members of the association joined the rally in solidarity with their ASUU counterpart.
He noted that issues of such nature must be a concern of all as they were all working towards a common goal.
According to him, the issue of “no PhD, no promotion” that is the case in the institution should be abolished.
“All of us, irrespective of our unions should work in tandem with whatever we are fighting for as a people,” he said.
A final year student of Education, Jerry Otor, pleaded with management of the university to urgently look into the demands of members of the association in order to prevent the situation from escalating to strike.
He expressed fear that the strike if embarked upon, would lead to the postponement of their graduation.
“I feel it is negligence on the part of management and I feel it should not be so because they all passed through the same rung of the ladder to get to where they are today,” he said
NAN reports that some of the placards the workers carried had inscriptions such as “Students in solidarity with Workers, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed” and “No to Professional Grade by Appointment”. (NAN)