IAC: Kwara govt scolds Rector for ordering staff to proceed on unpaid leave

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By Balkis Tijani.

The Kwara State government has reversed the directive by the management of International Aviation College, Ilorin, ordering some workers to proceed on leave without pay, effective from May 1, 2020.

The Rector/Chief Executive Officer of the College, Engr. Benedict Adeyileka had in a statement on Monday, reeled out some cost-cutting measures which includes implementation of a 10-42% pay cut for all members of staff with the exception of workers “on or below N80,000 per month.”

According to Adeyileka, the decision was expedient in order to safeguard the survival of the organization, which has been hit by the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A part of his statement read: “Of huge significance to us is that we have suffered a sharp decline of 100% in our revenue streams since the closure of our college, it is evident that we must, without further delay take decisive action to preserve our institution.

“Pursuant to this, recently we reached out to the state government, specifically to negotiate bail out funds; to pay for staff salary and other mandatory operational expenses. We are awaiting a response from the Government.

“Notwithstanding, some of the measures taken so far have contributed to conserving our limited resources. The outlook for the near future is not encouraging and our current level of funds simply cannot support our operations for much longer.

“For this reason, to safeguard the survival of our organization, we are constrained to introduce additional measures; to curtail our costs, as dictated by the turn of events to run our online lectures. Our dedicated staff who we really appreciate have made a huge sacrifice to ensure the success of this project which the students, parents and sponsors have been really impressed. With this, they have requested for continuation of this successful virtual online lectures.

“After careful deliberation and analysis, management and Governing Council has decided to implement between 10-42% pay cut for all members of staff across the entire organization for the month of April 2020 with the exception of staff on or below N80,000.00 per month.

“Furthermore, commencing from 1st May 2020, all staff shall proceed on unpaid leave with the exception of the few required to keep the online lectures going. This position will be reviewed on a monthly basis and communications on further developments will be communicated as the situation evolves.”

Reacting, the State Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Sa’adatu Modibbo Kawu noted that the state government did not approve for salaries to be paid in percentages nor for any member of staff at the College to go on compluslory leave without pay.

While reversing the decision, she stated that the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq-led administration had on several occasions approved special intervention funds for the institution, and would continue to prioritise the welfare of staff and students.

Read her full statement below:

“The Kwara State Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science and Technology wishes to clarify that the government has neither approved for salaries to be paid in percentages nor for any member of staff at the International Aviation College Ilorin to go on compluslory leave without pay at the College or in any of our Tertiary Institutions for that matter.

“In March 2020, in the interest of public safety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government directed all its employees to work from home until further notice. That subsisting directive covered all employees in Kwara State establishments including the Aviation College. The decision was not for anyone to go on leave without pay.

“I will like to place on record that this administration has on several occasions approved special intervention funds for the International Aviation College. In January, 2020, for instance, N19.460m was approved and released to the college to pay the salaries of its staff; its aviation insurance fees; and other items needed for smooth flight operations.

“The students of the college are presently on standard pilot course 16, and flight dispatch course 6 — thanks to the administration.

“It is also important to state that the college is presently enjoying virtual learning access, the first of such since the College was established.

“The present administration would continue to prioritise the welfare of staff and students, while ensuring accessible and qualitative learning in all our institutions.

“We recognise that the world is facing serious economic crisis at this time and Kwara is not immune. Even then, the Ministry of Tertiary Institution, Science and Technology has not approved any pay cut or leave without pay for any category of workers at this time. To this extent, the decision for pay cut or leave without pay is hereby reversed with immediate effect.”

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