Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has suspended the nationwide strike embarked upon by its members over the failure of government to meet their demands.
The National President of the union, Usman Yusuf Dutse, who disclosed this at a press conference held at the Abubakar Tatari Polytechnic (ATAP) in Bauchi yesterday while giving an update on the engagement between the union and the federal government, said the union decided to suspend the strike after reaching an agreement and signing a Memorandum of Settlement and action (MoS).
The union is currently holding its 14th national delegates conference in Bauchi, co-hosted by the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi and the Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi.
According to him, the union had engaged the government in series of meetings with the Minister of Education, Federal Ministry of Education and officials of Ministry of Labour.
Other stakeholders involved in the negotiations, he said, were the National Salaries and Wages Commission, Budget Office of the Federation, Office of Head of Civil Service and Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
â€œFollowing these meetings, a Memorandum of Settlements and action (MoS) was agreed on by the government and the union on each of the issues in dispute,â€ he said.
Members of ASUP embarked on the nationwide strike on November 13, 2017.
Dutse further stated that the MoS was signed by both government and the union to resolve the issues at stake.
â€œWhile we are not unaware of the government over the years to willfully renege on agreements of this nature with labour unions including ours, it is the considered view of our union that the contents of this MoS be given a chance of implementation particularly as there is a mechanism of monitoring and evaluation embedded in the MoS,â€ he added.
ASUP leader listed the issues that led to their action to include the non-implementation of the report of the NEEDS Assessment survey of polytechnics; sustained shortfall in personnel releases and withdrawal of their allowances since December 2015 and non-payment of promotion arrears.
Dutse disclosed that other issues include non-implementation of staff salaries in some state owned polytechnics, infractions in the appointment process of rectors of polytechnics, non-release of CONTISS 15 migration arrears, non-passage of the amendment bill of the polytechnic Act and continued victimisation of officers of the union.
He said ASUP had been engaged in series of meetings with the federal government represented by the Ministers of Education, Labour and Employment, National Salaries and Wages Commission; budget office of the federation, office of the Head of Service of the Federation and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
He added that following these meetings, an MoS was agreed and signed to by the federal government and the union on each of the issues in dispute after key resolutions were reached.
Among the resolutions reached are consideration for implementation the NEEDS Assessment report to the presidency for approval; release of withheld shortfalls owed affected polytechnics to be released before December 31, 2017; revisit report of ministerial committee on the verification of CONTISS 15 (2015) arrears and conclusion of exercise by January 31, 2018.
Other resolutions are the Governing Councils of Polytechnics to adhere strictly to the template developed by the FME for appointment of rectors in polytechnics, and intervention on the issue of the sack chairmen for resolution before December 31, 2017 among others.