Union says its next NEC meeting would decide its next line of action.
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, President, Chibuzor Asumogba, has stressed that the union was still on its nine-month old strike.
Mr. Asumogba spoke during the opening ceremony of the 77th National Executive Council meeting of the union holding at the Yaba College of Technology, Yabatech, in Lagos.
Mr. Asumogba said the NEC meeting was to discuss various issues affecting the union, not limited to the on-going strike. He added that the union would decide its next line of action concerning the strike after the meeting.
He also said that it was unfortunate that the Federal Government was not giving the polytechnic sector the deserved attention.
“We are still on strike; the NEC meeting will decide our next line of action,” he said.
The ASUP strike has been on since September 2013.
The Chairman, Governing Council of Yabatech, Ebenezer Babatope, however, appealed to ASUP to suspend its strike in the interest of the students.
Mr. Babatope who was represented by Shehu Agara, a member of the council, said, “Over the past nine months the sector has been paralysed as a result of strike by your union members; our students have been the most affected. The good news is that ASUP and the Federal Government have been negotiating to resolve the lingering crisis. I am certain that the negotiation will soon reach an amicable solution. It is my hope, however, that at the end of your deliberations, you will come out with workable solutions to some of the problems and challenges facing the system.”
He said the events of the recent past in the polytechnic sector had made it imperative for various stakeholders to continue to promote teaching and learning on campuses.
“It is indeed gratifying to note that ASUP, as a vital stakeholder in the sector, has been working assiduously with others to ensure growth and development of the polytechnic sector. Since the constitution of the governing council for the Federal polytechnics, the committee of council chairmen under my leadership has positioned itself to partner and give guidance and directive to the polytechnics. We will promote the standard of teaching and learning on campuses, improve the quality of staff and students and ensure the prevalence of orderliness and peace in our campuses,” he said.
Mr. Babatope assured the union of the support of the committee of council chairmen, in partnership with the Minister of Education and the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education.
“We will protect the integrity of the polytechnic sector and uphold the vision of the government to provide quality education and enduring standard. Our priorities at all times will be to confront the teething problems confronting us as a sector in partnership with the various stakeholders in the sector,” Mr. Babatope said.
The Rector, Yabatech, Margaret Ladipo, urged the union to temper their decisions with considerations of the students.
“As you go into this NEC, I urge you to take decisions for our children, who, over the past nine months, have lost a useful time span in their lives that can never be regained. I am optimistic that very soon we will all go back to our respective duties. ASUP is without doubt pivotal to the development of the polytechnic sector in Nigeria. As a responsive and responsible union, you play vital roles in promoting and ensuring virile industrial peace and harmony in the polytechnic system,” she said.
The union’s demands include the release of the white paper on Visitation Panel to Federal Polytechnics and implementation of the NEED Assessments of Nigerian Polytechnics.
ASUP also wants an improvement in the state of government-owned polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of technology.
The union wants a full implementation of the Consolidated Tertiary Institution Salary Structure (CONTISS 15) and a stop to alleged discrimination against holders of Higher National Diploma.
The Federal Government, among other things, has offered to pay N40 billion to polytechnic and colleges of education lecturers as CONTISS 15 arrears in installments.
The government offered to pay the first installment in March and the second in September, but the unions turned it down, insisting on full payment at once. When the unions eventually agreed, the government said an agency of government, the Salaries and Wages Commission, opposed the payment of the arrears.