Some workers of Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki in Oyo state, on Monday, took to the street to protest alleged casualisation by the institution’s management.

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NAN reports that the protesting workers, who carried placards with various inscriptions, took to major streets in the town as early as 7 am, chanting solidarity songs.

They were said to have later assembled at the institution’s gate.

Adekunle Lookman, the spokesperson for the workers, said the protest was staged to press home their demand for regularisation of their appointments.

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“Some of us had been recruited since 2011 as casual staffers, with N20,000 monthly salary, which was later increased to N30,000 before tax deduction,” he said.

“We want people to know that the state government is cheating us and they are calling us slaves for working for them.

“About 187 of us (teaching and non-teaching), with families and dependants, taking home less than N30,000 month. It is disgusting.

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“Worst still, they have refused to regularise our appointment, even after using us for accreditation of some of the courses.”

According to Lookman, the protest had become necessary because the government had turned deaf ears to their demands, adding that “they are happy as we continue to suffer.”

Adebayo Samson, another protester, said the government had issued a white paper on the regularisation of their appointments but wondered why it had refused to implement it.

“This is a copy of the white paper that was issued in 2019 but up till today, it has not been implemented. What is happening to us here is nothing but modern day slavery and cheating, hence our resolve to embark on this peaceful protest,” he said.

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In his reaction, however, Olusola Ajayi, chairman of the institution’s governing council, said it was not true that the white paper had not been implemented.

He said it was only the financial aspect of it that had not been given much attention.

“It is not true that we have not been implementing the white paper. It’s only the financial aspect of it that remains to be implemented and we all know what the nation’s economy is now,” he was quoted as saying by NAN.

“The implementation has some financial implications on the government and the institution. Our regular staffers are agitating for salary increase, while about 150 others are also asking to be included in the salary structure.

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“I have held several meeting them, giving them explanations and asking them to be patient with us.”

Ajayi added that at the last meeting of the governing council, the salary increase option was considered for the affected workers pending the regularisation of their appointments.

“We also thought of absorbing 59 of them for now. Since they have decided to demonstrate today (Monday), it is their right to do so. I just want to plead that they should not spoil the progress we are already making on the matter,” he added.

Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the state commissioner for education, has not reacted to the development as of the time of this report.

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