Mgt Meets Janitorial Service Providers To Review Wage Burden

Due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in the suspension of academic activities, the Management of the University has met with contractors handling janitorial services to plead for downward review of their wages. Management told the contractors that the move was necessitated by the prolonged lull in academic and administrative activities occasioned by the Federal Government’s order for universities to shut down, pending when the Coronavirus pandemic would be contained.

Speaking during an interactive forum with the contractors at the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium, University Park, on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Professor Regina Ogali, reminded them of extant provisions for emergency situations captured in the contractual agreement which needed to be activated under the prevailing circumstances.

Professor Ogali, who currently oversees the affairs of the University, said the meeting was necessitated by a need to dialogue with the contractors to reach a mutually beneficial agreement on the proposed downward review of their payments which would be activated in July 2020. She promised the contractors that Management would review the situation once normal academic activities resumed in the University.

“This is a situation that we did not envisage, but here we are grappling with it like other institutions in the country and around the world. You all know that the students we service have not been around since March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic; yet, we have been keeping to our side of the bargain under very strenuous circumstances. But as the situation is yet to improve, we want to reach an agreement to meet you halfway to save the University huge wage bills. We are not cancelling the contract with janitorial service providers, but we want to appeal to you that with this force majeure occasioned by the Coronavirus, you will need to meet us halfway with effect from July. We can no longer pay the full wages since we are not operating in full capacity,” Professor Ogali told the contractors.

Responding to some of the concerns raised by the contractors, Professor Ogali promised that Management would write them officially to explain the position. She promised that their entitlements for May and June 2020 would be paid in full, adding however, that the proposed downward review would take effect from July. The Deputy Vice Chancellor also promised that the Department of Physical Planning and Development and Works and Services Department would address the issues of water and electricity shortages raised by some of the contractors to enhance their operational efficiency. Contractors who just secured new awards were advised to wait for normalcy to return before commencing work.

At the end of the deliberations, all the contractors present unanimously agreed to the proposal for the downward review of their wage bills through a voice vote.

Principal Officers who accompanied Professor Ogali to the meeting were the Registrar, Mrs Dorcas Otto and Bursar, Dr Felicia Ayuwo, including the Director of Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Professor Ikechukwu Agbagwa, Legal Officer, Mrs Selina Inko-Tariah and Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Mr Kingsley Wogwu.



*Credit: OTIKOR SAMEUL and WILLIAMS WODI, UniPort News. No. 4

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