Varsity Strike: Poly, College Lecturers May Join ASUU

There are indications that lecturers from polytechnics and colleges of education may join their counterparts – the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
According to sources from the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, the union may resume its suspended strike, due to a lack of remarkable progress from the government on the union’s wage dispute.
Following promises made to the union, it suspended its strike on July 16 for one month. But as of Sunday, the Federal Government had yet to fulfill the promises made to ASUP, which has stirred up a fresh round of controversy.
Consequently, a meeting has been scheduled to hold between ASUP, the Governing Council Chairmen, Rectors and Registrars of Polytechnics and the National Board for Technical Education in Abuja this week between Tuesday and Wednesday, after which the union will convene its National Executive Council meeting.
Also, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, which had earlier issued a 21-day notice, on Friday served a fresh strike notice on the Federal Government.
In an August 15 letter to the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai, entitled, ‘Re: Festering issues prone to industrial action: An Ultimatum’, theunion issued a 14-day ultimatum to the government to meet its demands.
In the letter signed by its President, Asagha Nkoro, and the General Secretary, Nuhu Ogirima, COEASU expressed worry about the attitude of the government to the crisis in the education sector, especially over poor working conditions.
The letter reads, “Given the apparent unwillingness of the Federal Government to meaningfully address the issues of grave concern to the survival of the College of Education system within 21 days, as enunciated in the letter. The union hereby states that should the Federal Governmentmaintain its lackadaisical posture in the next two weeks, it would be compelled to embark on a nationwide strike action in the colleges of education.
“In other words, the entire academic staff of the nation’s colleges of education would, indeed, cease all responsibilities and functions dischargeable under the law and statute, if by August, 29,2013, the Federal Government refuses to take practical and meaningful steps towards addressing the union’s demands.”
The union’s complains centre on infrastructural decay, poor funding, non-implementation of the 2010 FG-COEASU Agreement, poor conditions of service, brain drain and illegal imposition of the IPPIS.
In a related development, ASUP, which on Sunday, expressed confidence in the National Assembly, criticised the executive arm of government for its lack of commitment to the promises made to it at their last meeting.
In an interview with our correspondent, the ASUP President, Chibuzo Asomugha, said, “The Federal Government asked for two weeks, we gave them one month because there were outstanding issues, like the CONTISS 15 migration. The approval for that has come from the Head of Service but they are still to work out the modalities for the implementation.This involves arrears, and we have not been assured of where the arrears will come from and when.
“Government also promised to constitute the Governing Councils for the remaining polytechnics within two weeks; it is one month now but nothing has been done.
“On university-polytechnic dichotomy, we have not received any response from the Minister of Education. If the government will deem it fit to invite us to review the progress, I think it will be better for everybody.”
Meanwhile, students, under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students, have appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to address, as a matter of urgency, the issues relating to the ongoing strike by their teachers.
They said the current strike had been affecting not only their psyche and future, but also the future of the education sector in Nigeria.
NANS, in a statement in Jos on Sunday by the NANS’ Senate President, Mr. Emaluji Michael, described the strike as unfortunate, advising both sides to reconsider their tough stands on the negotiations.
The body accused the Presidency of not being proactive in handling issuespertaining to the strike, as it allowed it to have lingered since 1999, thereby subjecting them (students) to untold emotional torture.
While appealing to the Governor Gabriel Suswam-led NEEDS assessment to negotiate with the academic staff with a view to resolving the issues as quickly as possible, the students urged the President to see to the demands of ASUU and consider the effect of the strike on the present state of insecurity in the country.

VNTI ASUU

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