The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Ambrose Alli University (AAU) chapter, Ekpoma on Thursday June 11, expressed worry over alleged harassment and intimidation of leaders of staff unions and disrespect of trade unions in the university by management.
Chairman Ambrose Alli University chapter of ASUU, Dr. Monday Igbafen in a statement made available to journalists in Benin, said the union is disturbed by the resurgence of the act of intimidation of staff unions in the University.
Igbafen alleged that the University management recently deployed a detachment of police to harass and chase away union (JAC) representatives for allegedly harassing people at the school gate and prevented them from reporting for duty and even for essential services.
“It is an accepted fact that, it is wrong and illegal for representatives of any union to harass people who are non members at the gate and prevent them for reporting for duty”, Igbafen said.
While decrying the situation in the university where the police were allegedly invited to harass union leaders, Igbafen said that it is unjustifiable for the University administration to invite the police to harass representatives of staff unions in the institution who are enforcing the directive or resolution of their unions.
Igbafen who described as unfortunate event as unacceptable said ,” this amount to militarisation of affairs of the administration of the university. “
In a swift reaction, the Ambrose Alli University spokesman, Edward Aihevba, said ASUU and JAC have consistently been observed to be critical of the institution’s efforts for implementing government directives as regards to staff report for duty during the lockdown.
Aihevba added that staff on levels 1-12 in the civil service (1-11 in the university) are required to work from home, while other staff on level 12 and above and those on essential services are required to report for work daily while maintaining social distancing and other preventive guidelines as spelt out by the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on covid-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The University spokesman while calling for caution urged the union leaders to note that all disputes or grievances are usually resolved at the negotiation table, adding that the University would not tolerate representatives of any union to harrass people at the gate and prevent them from reporting for duty even for essential services.