By Danjuma Auta
The Plateau State Joint Union of Tertiary Institutions (JUPTI), has decried the continuous neglect of the welfare of its members.
The group made its position known during a press conference at the NUJ Press Centre in Jos.
Chairman of the JUPTI, Comrade Sunoe Peter Longbaam said “As you are aware that the Plateau State Tertiary Institutions staff have been on strike for the past two weeks due to a breach of agreement signed with the Plateau State Government on some of our lingering and unresolved issues.’’
Longbaam also disclosed that the Union was worried with the manner in which government agencies and departments have not been giving the desired attention to several correspondences including all notices and reminders yet without any response.
Describing the union as law abiding, Longbaam said they can no longer sit and watch while some government officials toy with tertiary institutions and the staff.
The Chairman who listed some of the demands of JUPTI, said they are pressing for the release of 25 per cent TSA withheld funds amounting to N460 million to Tertiary Institutions, non-implementation of the peculiar allowance as contained in the agreement for the implementation of CONTEDISS, non-payment of 24 months arrears of retirees of Tertiary Institutions, deconsolidation of salary structure of Tertiary Institutions by the Ministry of Finance, continuous withholding of salary deductions by the Plateau State Government as well the enrolment of couples into the state health insurance scheme without any prior consent of the couples.
Comrade Longbaam stated that the unions have been pushed to the wall hence they have no option than to address citizens of the state on the lingering issues and called on the government to desist peddling falsehood to the public on the ongoing strike by JUPTI.
Said he “When the issues were resolved with government in 2016, it was agreed that the Ministry of Finance would liaise with the Bursars of the state owned Tertiary Institutions to work out modalities for the release of the funds to the respective institutions but it may interest you to know that four years after the agreements were entered into, no action has been taken to fulfil the promises on the part of the government.’’
According to him, the unions would no longer take it if government remain insensitive to the plight and demands of the union stating that as peace loving people, they will continue to pursue their legitimate demands peacefully and within the confines of the law.
The union leaders also appealed to the government to do everything necessary to sustain the cordial relationship that exist between it and the Union by reciprocating the kind gesture and understanding the union has shown by trying to resolve the lingering issues. They also called on well-meaning Plateau citizens to intervene so as to ensure speedy resolution of the issues for the progress of education in the state.