Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics, SSANIP, Abia State Polytechnic Chapter has accused the management of the institution of forcing Heads of Department to sign sack letters for its members affected by the recent sack of 258 workers in the institution.
The institution had in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer,Mrs Chinyere Eze, sacked 258 of its workers , stressing that their services are no longer needed.
It was gathered that the affected senior and junior workers of the Polytechnic had received three months and one month salary, respectively, in lieu of notice, from their respective banks.
Chairman of SSANIP, Abia Polytechnic, Comrade Nwachukwu Chucks said the sack of the 258 workers was done with compulsion by the management on the HODs.
Chucks said the management forced the HODs to sign the letters on behalf of those staff and are now calling the affected workers to come and take their letters.
“The HODs are now calling some of the workers to come and collect their sack letters in their offices. But we have asked our members to stay away from office until these issues are looked into, since the HODs cannot resist the pressure of receiving the letters.
“We asked the entire workers to stay away from office because an injury to one is injury to all. We cant divide our house. It is a union decision that everyone should abide with.
“We asked them to allow us to be part of the process to know the criteria upon which the exercise is being carried out, but the management refused. Whether it was a victimization or witch-hunting, we don’t know.”
He explained that the leadership of various unions are in the dark over the basis upon which the management and the state government used in sacking the 258 workers.
“We don’t know the people that are involved, because the letters were sealed off. It is the HODs who received the letters on behalf of the sacked workers who knows the people affected. Like I said, the unions are at loss.
“We are exploring every legal means available to the unions. We are discussing with our parent body. We are also discussing with stakeholders in the Labour Industry. We are willing and open to engage the management and government in further discussion over this issue.
“Our grouse is that it is not supposed to be a unilateral decision. Engagement and disengagement of staff is under what we call collective bargaining. You bargain your employment and also bargain your disengagement.
“Even when one dies while in active service, there should be dialogue between the bereaved family and the management. We want them to open avenue for us to talk over these issues, they have refused.
“The truth of the matter is that which staffers are affected? What was the justification for their removal? What parameter did they use to do what they are doing because we know that we have method of approaching this kind of situation? But they refused to follow the standard. We are in a very disturbing situation in the polytechnic and create room for suspicion.”
He decried the deployment of armed men to the school, stressing that SSANIP had directed her members to stay away from work due to the presence of the police and other security agencies in the school.
“If they are doing genuine downsizing? Do they need to do it with force? Why do they want to achieve by bringing in armed policemen in the system. But because they know that what they are doing is wrong and because they want to use force which is illegal, that is why we are saying no to it. Let the armed men bearing leave the campus.
“What are they afraid of? Why not place the card on the table? Why not talk to the unions? Why not make open the criteria and parameter of the downsizing open? What are they hiding?
“If the governor has given them the mandate to do that, why don’t they get the stakeholders on a roundtable to discuss the issues and reduce the tension in the land?
“Why are they doing this, bearing in mind that they are owing workers 16 months’ salary arrears and that the workers are already dying of hunger? Why are they humiliating them the more?”