By Michael Oche
Polytechnic lecturers under the auspices of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) on Wednesday said they will commence a nationwide strike action on Monday, May 16.
The Union said the decision to embark on the strike action is due to failure of the federal government to implement the outstanding items in a Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA) signed with the union which led to the suspension of its strike in June 2021.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday after an emergency National Executive Council meeting of the union, ASUP national president, Anderson Ezeibe said should the government fail to meet its demands after the two weeks warning strike, it will have no choice but to declare an indefinite shutdown of the sector.
He said the reasons for their agitation include the non-release of the N15 billion revitalization fund for the sector 11 months after approval by President Buhari; Non release of 10 months arrears of the new minimum wage Polytechnics lecturers; noncompliance 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
He said “Our Union suspended its industrial action declared on the 6th of April 2021 on the 10th of June, 2021 following the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) with the government. The signed MoA contained a clear path to sustainable resolution of the issues in dispute with time lines attached to each of the items in dispute.”
“The suspension of the industrial action was for a period of 3 months and to enable the government conclude processes already initiated in the direction of fulfillment 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 102th 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 4th 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.
“Our Union’s ultimatum expired on the 4th of May, 2022 and as is the norm, the Union’s NEC reconvened today, 11th of May, 2022 to review the response of the government to the ultimatum, particularly as it affects relevant agencies/functionaries of government. Within the period of the ultimatum, the Union met with the National Board for Technical Education to review the grievances with a view to resolution.
“Following exhaustive deliberations, 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, 16th of May 2022”. It stated.