College of Education Union Warms Up for Industrial Action

Segun Awofadeji

The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has lamented the lackadaisical attitude of both federal and state governments in the country towards addressing the plights of its members.

The union warned that if tangible efforts were not put to address the lingering labour issues at the expiration of its 21 days ultimatum on May 28, 2022, they would have no alternative than to embark on industrial action across the country.

The Vice President and North-east Zonal Co-ordinator of COEASU, Mr. Mohammed Bello Umar, who made the announcemen in a press statement in Bauchi yesterday, also said that they were seriously concerned about the lingering issues of industrial concerns in the country’s Colleges of Education, which needed quick attention.

Umar said: “This, as always, is for the purpose drawing the attention of the general public and governments to the plight of COEASU in Nigeria for possible redress.”

The union noted with dismay that despite the breathing space it accorded to the government to address the issues militating the social, economic and political life of Nigerians, nothing is been done to address the issues.

“The issues bedeviling the social, economic, and political life of Nigerians among others and in particular the issues queued up in the education industry, the attitude of the government in handling problems concerning the Nigerian Colleges of Education is, to say the least, worrisome.”  

The Union also noted that the sub sector is faced with a number of problems with serious and varying effects on the staff, students, and by extension, the larger community.

The union while expressing fears that if nothing is done to address the issues, it would affect the next generation negatively, highlighted the key issues of contention to include, dilly-dallying posture of governments to renegotiation of COEASU-FGN 2010 Agreement.

He said that the 2010 agreement should be renegotiated after five years to update its provisions and streamline some identified gray areas and address emerging issues of contention in the tertiary institutions.

The agreement, according to COEASU, was aimed at moving in line with the global best practices and engendering lasting industrial harmony.

The statement further explained that “since 2015, when the 2010 agreement was due for renegotiation, government has failed to give room for the commencement of renegotiation that will fill up a lot of vacuums.”

The union accused the government that instead of being serious, it has continued to give lame excuses and remained merely pretentious on the commencement of exercise.

Other issues according to COEASU are non-implementation of the white paper on 2014 Presidential Needs Assessment across public owned COEs in Nigeria, poor funding of Colleges of Education and Poor implementation of NCCE approved Conditions/scheme of service across state-owned COEs.

The rest included federal government’s recalcitrant attitude in the insistence on IPPIS against more reliable alternative of UTAS.

The union said that Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) is causing more havoc to tertiary institutions than good, adding that the IPPIS is beset with numerous problems such as omission of staff in the payment of salaries, unsolicited deductions, shortage in salary payment, unremitted third-party deductions, among others.

They also decried government’s refusal to heed the Union’s demand for the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which is an alternative innovation of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), specially designed to carter for the tertiary education sector.

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