Despite Meeting with FG, Poly Lecturers Continue Strike

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Mr. Anderson Ezeibe, yesterday disclosed that the union would continue its strike, which commenced 12 midnight of yesterday despite meeting with the federal government.

Ezeibe, who stated this at the Federal Ministry of Education after the union’s meeting with the minister, Mallam Adamu Adamu, said the strike was not suspended.
He said the meeting with the minister was just the beginning of a negotiation, adding that until the issues were satisfactorily resolved, the strike would continue.

He said the union believed in dialogue, hence its ultimatum of 15 days, which was issued in March 2020, calling on the government to look into the negotiations and do the needful.
“The expiration of the union’s ultimatum issued since March 2020 as well as the development of new issues of concern in the sector due to the negligence of the government.

“Today, therefore, marks day one of the execution of the resolutions of our union. The strike has not been suspended as it is just a few hours old. The meeting with the minister is just the beginning of a resolution and until it has been satisfactorily resolved, the strike must go on.”
He enumerated their grievances to include: “Non-release of the 10 months arrears of minimum wage owed our members in Federal Polytechnics and non-implementation of same in several state-owned institutions.

“This is despite the presidential directive for the payment of these arrears since December 2019.
“Non-payment of salaries in some state-owned institutions as our members are owed their legitimate emoluments ranging from five to 24 months in Abia, Ogun, Osun, Edo, Benue, Plateau states, continued victimisation of officials of our union as seen in Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, Federal Polytechnic Mubi as well as Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo.”

He said the situation had degenerated to the clamping down and brazen illegal seizure of the properties of the union by the Rector of Federal Polytechnic, Nassarawa.
He said the non-implementation of the approved 65 years retirement age in the sector by some state governments, notably Kano, as well as the continued appointment of unqualified persons as rectors of polytechnics in some states must be addressed.

Speaking at a separate conference in Abuja yesterday, Ezeibe listed other grievances of the
Polytechnic lecturers to include: non-implementation of NEEDS assessment report of 2014; non-release of any revitalisation fund despite assurances since 2017, non-reconstitution of governing councils, non-release of 10 months arrears of minimum wage, and non-payment of salaries in some state Polytechnics.
Also under the contention was non-release of arrears of promotion, renewed attempts to insert “offensive” provisions in the scheme of service and conditions of service, and alleged plans to force ASUP members in some monotechnics out of the union.

Ezeibe noted that the 15-day ultimatum issued to the federal government since March 2020 had long expired, adding that the union decided to give the government enough time to address the issues raised, and to also help its students.

He however lamented that government perceived its decision as a sign of weakness, adding that new issues of concern had developed as a result of the government’s negligence to the polytechnic sector.
However, the Education Minister, Adamu, after a meeting with the union, said nothing was impossible in reaching an agreement with the union while disclosing that the governing council had been selected and would be inaugurated in no distant time.

“For the governing council, I can assure you that it is set already. We were just waiting for the break to be over and they will be announced and inaugurated. “All the points will be looked into carefully and I give you the assurance that all will be attended to,” he said.