Following inconclusive discussions with the Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics has resolved to proceed on an indefinite strike, with effect from February 25, 2015.
On that day, the 14-day ultimatum earlier issued to the Federal Government would have effectively elapsed.
The latest action is sequel to the suspension of the implementation of CONTISS 15 salary structure in all the polytechnics through a circular by the Minister of Education, directing that the special salary scale be discontinued without explanations.
The President of ASUP, Mr. Chibuzor Asomugha, at a press briefing after the union’s National Executive Council meeting held on Saturday in Abuja, directed its members nationwide to proceed on the indefinite strike.
He also berated the Federal Government for lacking the political will to implement demands of ASUP which, according to him, were capable of revamping the technical education sector.
Asomugha said it was unfortunate that government and its officials “only shiver when members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities go on strike because of the direct implication it may have on their children.”
The ASUP president said advanced countries of the world were doing better because they had taken full advantage of the polytechnic system of education.
He said, “You will recall that in 2012, our union placed a 13-point demand portfolio before the government for negotiation and subsequent implementation. Most of these demands were carryover from the 2009 agreement between the Federal Government and ASUP.
“Some of these demands include the continued discrimination against polytechnic graduates in the public service and in the labour market in Nigeria; non-release of the White Paper on the visitation to the federal polytechnics; non-implementation of CONTISS 15 migration for the lower cadres and its arrears as from 2009 when the salary structure was approved; and non-establishment of a National Polytechnics Commission and the wrongful continued recognition of the National Board for Technical Education as the regulatory body for polytechnics.
“The failure of the government to attend to these demands led to a series of strike actions we had embarked upon between 2013 and 2014. The polytechnic sector is still undergoing a frenzied recovery from the scars of that engagement. As we have always stated, the sordid experience our sector went through in recent times was avoidable if the government had deployed proactive measures in addressing the issues in disputes.
“In view of these developments and also in view of the failure of the government to honour agreement with our union, we hereby resolved as follows: That at the expiration of the two-week ultimatum, our union has issued to the government beginning from February 11, 2015, on the pending issues, ASUP shall embark on an indefinite strike action until all the ongoing anomalies in our polytechnics are addressed and the 13-point demand pending before the government implemented.”
Speaking on the postponement of the general elections, ASUP said the political gladiators were unnecessarily over-heating the polity by neglecting other core sectors of the economy to suffer unjustly.
The PUNCH recalls that ASUP and the Federal Government had been in conflict since 2009 over issues relating to the implementation of the white paper emanating from the NEEDS assessment visitation panels sent to the polytechnics by the government.