Members of staff of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, on Friday, disrupted academic and non-academic activities to demand for their salaries from the management of the institution.
The protesters who converged on the campus’ roundabout, marched through various routes, clutching placards and leaves and sang songs which depicted their situation.
The workers, who defied downpour, caused heavy traffic as they arrived the university’s administrative block which houses the office of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis Eze.
The protesters, under the auspices of Joint Action Committee, had in attendance members of Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Non Academic Staff Union and National Association of Academic Technologists.
Spokesperson for the JAC, Mr. Ibeji Nwokeoma, who addressed FUTO’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Administration, Prof. Israel Ndukwe, said that the recent slash in salaries was unacceptable.
He said, “We reject in its entirety the 40 per cent slash in our salaries. Since the development, we have now become laughing stock among our contemporaries. Our children have dropped out of schools. We no longer afford three square meals. We have come to say enough is enough.”
Nwokeoma threatened that JAC members would down tool if the school did not desist from slashing their salaries and pay them their outstanding arrears, including promotion benefits.
“FUTO is a brand name. We don’t want to derail. We want the balance of the promotion arrears equally. Implement the pending promotion not later than September this year. We want peace because there is no alternative to peace,” he said.
In his response, the DVC in charge of Administration, said, “You gave us assurance that this was going to be a peaceful exercise and you have fulfilled you own bargain. We believe that FUTO staff love the truth and they will like to hear the truth.
“Even at the last General Assembly, we discussed the issue. The economy at the federal level is very bad. FUTO management is not happy that you are getting 80 per cent of your salary. We are praying to God that He will touch the hearts of the Federal Government to release your money. It is not our making.”