Polytechnic lecturers threaten strike after 21 days ultimatum

Daily Nigerian

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, have issued the federal government a 21-day notice to address issues bedevilling the sector or face a strike action

The Union in a letter addressed to the minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige frowned at what they described as neglect of the polytechnic sector by the federal government.

The letter signed by ASUP president, Usman Dutse and also contained a communiqué issued at the end of the Unions NEC held in Abia state, reminded the federal government that the union withdrew the services of its members in a one week warning strike in February, 2017 over same issues.

Mr Dutse said after a meeting between ASUP and the Minister of Education on the 22nd of August, 2017, the union had expected the government to make progress on some of the issues raised

He said, the minister had at the meeting, assured the union that within one month, the issues presented by the union would have been addressed.

The letter reads in part thus: “A review of the progress made after six weeks of the meeting is as shown below:

“Non-Implementation of the Report of the NEEDS ASSESSMENT survey of Polytechnics: The Honorable Minister of Education had directed a review of the report in line with inflationary trends before the transmission of the document to the Federal Executive Council for approval.

“While the review process has commenced, there is no indication towards the movement of the document to the Federal Executive Council for necessary action.

“Sustained shortfalls in personnel releases and withdrawal of allowances since December, 2015: The Honorable Minister of Education had reiterated his earlier directive (in August, 2016) for institutions to continue to pay the allowances until such is captured in the budget.

“However, this directive has been largely ignored and as a result members of our union continue to be owed this allowance with some owed for as much as 18 months. The shortfalls persist with only 2 Polytechnics receiving their shortfalls. Promotion arrears are equally owed with some dating as far as 2014.

“Non-payment of Staff Salaries in Some State Owned Institutions: This has continued despite repeated calls by our union for needed intervention. States like Abia currently owes 9 months while others like Edo, Kogi, Oyo, Benue, Osun, Imo, Plateau and Bayelsa owe between 8 and 4 months.

“Check off dues of our union in these states are equally withheld inclusive of Rivers state. In the face of these extreme acts of provocation, our members in Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta are threatened with mass sack as the governor of Ogun state has sustained his drive to establish a new polytechnic in a farmland in Ikpokia, defying logic and the genuine concerns of stakeholders.

The president also said if the government in the next 21 days refused to comprehensively address the issues raised, the union will be left with no choice than to withdraw the services of its members in a total and comprehensive national industrial action in defense of the sector.