Union says it would not call off the strike based on “nothing.”
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, concluded its National Executive Council meeting on Thursday morning and resolved to continue with its strike.
The union’s National Publicity Secretary, Clement Chirman, told PREMIUM TIMES that the Federal Government was frustrating the union and prolonging the strike.
He said government was yet to say move forward with a committee that it had promised to setup to resolve the issue of wages and salary arrears.
“Our strike cannot be suspended just like that. The last time we met the (Education) Minster said the government would set up a committee based on the observation of Salaries and Wages commission on payment of CONTISS 15 migration. The minister said before the House of Representatives that both ASUP and COEASU should join the meeting; which we agreed to do.
“Then he gave one week from the date of our last meeting for the setup of the committee,” Mr. Chirman said.
“But since that day, no committee has been set up and there has been nothing from the government concerning the committee. So our position is that government is frustrating and prolonging the strike. After our NEC meeting we agreed that there was no basis upon which the strike would be suspended.”
Mr. Chirman said the union would not call off the strike based on “nothing.”
“We understand the fact that people have suffered and we have also suffered too. For now there is no other decision made than to continue with the strike,” he said.
A meeting was held at the National Assembly on May 27 between lecturers and the government delegation led by the Education Minister, Nyesom Wike. The meeting was facilitated by the House of Representatives Committee on Education.
Mr. Wike told attendees that the major remaining contention of the workers – their salary arrears – was not being addressed because a government agency had raised concerns. He said the Salaries, Wages and Income Commission was opposed to the payment of arrears owed the lecturers, saying it was not consulted before the 2009 CONTISS 15 agreement between the lecturers and the federal government was reached.
The minister told the meeting that a technical committee had been set up by the Secretary to
the Government of the Federation, SGF, Pius Anyim, to review crisis.
The lawmakers then asked the committee to conclude its task in one week and to consult the lecturers in its deliberation.
In his reaction to the lecturers’ claim, the Special Assistant (Media), Simon Nwakadu, to Mr. Wike, told PREMIUM TIMES that the committee has been meeting.
“The committee is on and they are meeting at the SGF level and both ASUP and COASEU are involved directly but they have not concluded their work.
“We are hoping by next week Tuesday they should conclude their work but they are on it. The committee was an existing committee even before they met that day. But that day the minster suggested that since the committee was dealing with issues concerning wages and salary, ASUP and COEASU should join them,” Mr. Nwakadu explained.
ASUP has been on strike since October 4, 2013. The union’s demands include the need for the constitution of the Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics, the migration of the lower cadres on the CONTISS 15 salary scale, the release of the White Paper on the Visitations to Federal Polytechnics, and the need for the commencement of the Need Assessment of Nigerian Polytechnics.
The government said it has met the other demands of the lecturers.