Sunday, February 22, 2015 11:41 am
With a two-week ultimatum issued by Nigeria’s Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics to the Federal Government counting towards its end, the union is due to embark on another round of industrial action, National President of the union, Comrade Chibuzor Asomuga, has said.
This new threat is coming eight months after an initial indefinite strike action that lasted for many months until the Minister of Education, who had just taken office, met with the union and pleaded for a little time to resolve their complaints.
The union has now argued that the Minister has refused to meet these demands despite being honoured and trusted resulting in the union calling off that industrial action. Instead, ASUP said the government went ahead to suspend the implementation of CONTISS 15 salary structure.
To the union members, this was outrightly provocative, ill timed, retrogressive and a breach of the trust and character of the agreement that led to the suspension of the strike in July, 2014.
As it is now, the industrial action is expected to commence on Wednesday except the government immediately resolves this looming educational crisis.
This is even when the polytechnics in the country have not yet fully recovered from the major strike action that lasted between 2013 and 2014.
The ASUP President further lamented that the union and its members were daily persecuted, wantonly abused and intimidated by the management of polytechnics, most of whom engage in maladministration and wanton abuse of executive privileges.
“The federal government should, without further delay, dissolve the governing councils of the federal polytechnics, Oko and Ado Ekiti as they have become burdens rather than solutions to the myriad of problems bedevilling the sector.
“…That the circular issued by the Ministry of Education suspending the implementation CONTISS 15 migration be withdrawn with immediate effect as the suspension is ill-timed and counterproductive and will create further tension in the sector.
“In July 2014, our union suspended the strike on the plea of the then new Hon Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, who had requested for a three-month moratorium to enable him tackle the lingering problems.
“Unfortunately and sadly too, since the suspension of that strike and despite our strong reminders to government on the pending issues and repeated assurances from Honourable Minister of Education, none of the issues has been addressed to a logical conclusion.
“In a strange twist, rather, and without recourse to the content and spirit of the understanding on which the union suspended the strike, the Federal Ministry of Education on the 26th of January 2015, under the guise of a proposed verification exercise, issued a circular directing the suspension of the CONTISS 15 Salary Structure which implementation dates back to 2009, thereby, creating further confusion in the sector,” the ASUP President said.