By Aplefe Ojong
The immediate past Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Calabar Branch, Dr. James Okpiliya, says his greatest successes were in the area of providing holistic welfare packages to deserving ASUU-UNICAL members.
Speaking to newsmen in his office, the former ASUU-UNICAL chairman disclosed that his administration took a holistic approach to the issues of welfare of members throughout the two terms of two years each he presided as Chairman from 2010-November 2014.
He explained that as part of deliberate effort to make ASUU membership meaningful to members, he pursued a drastic upwards review of all welfare sub-heads constitutionally provided, making welfare the strength of his leadership.
Okpiliya disclosed that from N50,000 that was given for death of member, it was taken to N500,000; N50,000 from N5,000 for marriage package for members; when a member loses a spouse from N20,000 to N250,000; and N100,000 from N10,000 when a member loses a parent.
He also said that beside the above stated achievements, members were provided with soft interest loans to cushion the effect of the last nationwide ASUU strike, apart from the individual survival strategies employed to stay afloat; negotiated a favorable tax regime for members, increase investment with the Freedom Multipurpose Cooperative Society to the tone of N1 million, procured mobile phones, iPads, laptops, desktops at favorable terms for members, just as the Union under his leadership stopped the creation of Directorate in the Registry as well as ticketing inside the campus.
Other achievements recorded by the Dr. Okpiliya’s led administration include the relocation of ASUU-UNICAL Secretariat to its present site, as well as its furnishing, keyed into the NLC Workers village with 12 now having their allocation papers; also that the Union went into partnership with Ever Peace Properties Limited and the First Bank of Nigeria PLC to develop plots of land for members of the Union in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State, and equally fought for the Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) which of course the union abstained from participating in disbursement in line with the National Strike Coordinating Committee’s directive on the issue as part of measures to guide against members of the public seeing ASUU as self-seeking.
The out gone Chairman of ASUU-UNICAL who remains a member of the present Executive following the Union’s Constitutional provision, went further to disclosed that his leadership prevailed on Management to defer the new criteria for promotion to October 2015, bought a new bus for the branch from members contributions, as well as purchased and sewed Uniforms for members on deferred payment, adding, he thanked members for the support given to his Executive and called for such to be extended to the new executive.
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