Barring last-minute interventions, the relative peace enjoyed in the nation’s technical education sector may be truncated as the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics(ASUP) has issued a two weeks ultimatum to the Federal Government to resolve outstanding demands reached with them.
The technical union insists that on the expiration of the two weeks ultimatum, it would mobilise its members to down tools indefinitely, nationwide with effect from Monday 16th May 2022.
This threat is coming, when the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) recently extended their industrial action for another 12 weeks.
Anderson Ezeibe, President of ASUP while addressing the media on the latest decision, said, “Following exhaustive deliberations, on the update as outlined above, the emergency meeting of the Union’s National Executive Council has resolved that members should withdraw their services in a 2 weeks industrial action with effect from Monday, 16” of May 2022.
“We are deploying this medium to equally appeal to members of the public to prevail on the government to do the needful within the 2 weeks period so as to avoid an indefinite shut down of the sector”.
ASUP President explained that among the issues in contention was the alleged non-release of the approved revitalization fund for the sector: totalling N15bn yet to be released 11 months after approval by the President.
The union is also aggrieved over the non-release of arrears of the new minimum wage: especially the 10 months’ arrears for the Polytechnics which is yet to be released, including non-release of the reviewed normative instruments for institution/management and programs accreditation.
He said, “the document is currently awaiting approval of the Management of NBTE. This document is expected to provide a framework to address non-payment of salaries in state-owned institutions, non-compliance with approved retirement age, non-deployment of approved salary structures, poor governance structure as well as other issues affecting standards, particularly in state-owned Polytechnics.
“As a consequence, our members in Abia, Ogun, Edo, Benue, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Plateau and Osun states are owed salaries while they also continue to suffer from different levels of deprivation including non-release of promotions and non-deployment of appropriate retirement age. Such deprivations are also evident in Adamawa, Niger, Sokoto and Delta States where the government has resolved to disrupt the hitherto timely payment of salaries with a subvention styled funding regime”.
Other outstanding demands yet to be met by the government, which may necessitate the strike action, include infractions in the implementation of the provisions of the Federal Polytechnics Act as amended in 2019: and observed delay in the appointment of rectors among others.
The ASUP President decried a situation where the government continues to feign ignorance of the demands of polytechnic workers.
Addressing the media, he said, “The suspension of the industrial action was for a period of 3 months and to enable the government to conclude processes already initiated in the direction of fulfilment of the items in the MoA which are process led. Nine months after the suspension of the industrial action and six months after the expiration of the three-month period of suspension, our Union’s NEC met in its 102″ meeting in Federal Polytechnic Mubi and after reviewing the report of the implementation of the MoA, resolved to issue a 1-month ultimatum to the government effective 4″ April 2022 to address the outstanding items in the MOA and other emergent issues or face the reality of another trade dispute with our Union”.