ASUP may call off strike next week – Official

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The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, may call off its 10-day old strike next week, an official has said.
 
An official of the union, Kola Abiola, who is also the ASUP chairman of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic chapter in Abeokuta, told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday that the decision will be taken in Bauchi when ASUP leaders meet next week to deliberate on their negotiation with the federal government.

“The Minister of Education has met with our leadership and there has been fruitful discussions,” Mr. Abiola said.

“There is a process ongoing for the Memorandum of Understanding to be signed.”

According to Mr Abiola, the union had an emergency National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja on Monday on how to resolve the crisis.
 
“I think by the time we call ourselves together again after meeting with the government, when we meet at Bauchi next week, we will evaluate what is on ground and a decision will be taken”.
 
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported the national president of ASUP, Usman Dutse saying the Ministry of Labour told the union that a memorandum of understanding would be issued to resolve the disagreements.
 
“But we’ve not gotten one MOU till date and that is why our members say there is no seriousness on the side of the government,” Mr. Dutse had said.

He said the polytechnic lecturers would sustain the strike until the demands of the union are met or an implementable memorandum of action was agreed on.

Meanwhile the President of the National Association of Polytechnic Students, NAPS, Eneji Mohammed, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES blamed the incessant strike in Nigeria tertiary institutions on under-funding of the sector.
 
He said the government should increase budgetary allocation to the education sector in order to avert and reduce industrial actions by the teachers.
 
“We just resumed from a strike six month ago and we are on another one again. We are not happy with the current situation of education in Nigeria and we are appealing to ASUP to take a good decision so that the strike may be called off.

Because we heard that an MOU was presented to the union by the Minister of Education and Minister of Labour,” Mr Mohammed said.
 
Similarly, the president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Chinonso Obasi, said strikes are due to government’s non-implementation of agreements.
 
“Government prefers to meet the demands of politicians while the demands of those that are building the foundation to groom the future generation is compromised. How can government enter an agreement in 2011, re-negotiate in 2012 and those agreement are yet to be implemented in 2017?” Mr Obasi said.
 
According to him, the government should prioritise the needs of teachers. He, however, said the lecturers should not always use strike as a means expressing their displeasure to government.

ASUP commenced its strike on November 13 due to the federal government’s failure to fulfil the outstanding agreement made with it.


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