Lecturers in Nigerian polytechnics have said that there is no going back on the indefinite strike action their union plans to embark upon as from tomorrow, Wednesday, asking Nigerians to blame the government for the strike action.
Speaking in Ibadan on Tuesday, the Southwest Zonal Coordinator of the lecturers’ union, Mr Babatunde Dosumu, said the Federal Government deliberately ignored all the agreements it reached with the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) in 2012.
According to him, the government’s failure to address the union’s demands as contained in a 13-point demand portfolio presented in 2012, has led to previous strikes (2013 and 2014) including the one starting on Wednesday.
He said all those strike actions and interruption in academic calender would have been avoided if government had deployed proactive measures in addressing the issues in disputes.
Dosumu said ASUP suspended its strike last year to accede to the appeal of the Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who had just come on board then. He said the minister promised to address the demands within three months but he never did.
He lamented that to add salt to injury, the Federal Ministry of Education on January 26, 2015, under the guise of a proposed verification exercise, issued a circular directing the suspension of the CONTISS 15 Salary Structure which implementation dates back to 2009, thereby, creating further confusion in the sector.
He described the circular as provocative, retrogressive, and a flagrant breach of the trust and character of the agreement that led to the suspension of the strike in July, 2014.
Below are some of the demands by ASUP:
1. The continued discrimination against Polytechnic graduates in Public Service and in the labour market in Nigeria.
2. The non-release of the White Paper on the visitation to federal polytechnics.
3. The non-implementation of CONTISS 15 Migration for the lower cadres and its arrears as from 2009 when the salary structure was approved.
4. The non-establishment of a National Polytechnics Commission (NPC) and the wrongful continued recognition of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) as the regulatory body for polytechnics.
5. The non-constitution of governing councils for some federal polytechnics by the Federal Government
6. The slow pace of the review of the Federal Polytechnics Act by the National Assembly.
7. The gross under funding of the polytechnic sub sector and continued lopsidedness in the disbursements of TETfund grants and other interventions clearly designed to the disadvantage of the polytechnic sector.
8. The non-commencement of the re-negotiation of the FGN/ASUP agreement as contained in the signed agreement.
9. The worrisome state of most state owned polytechnics and the failure of some state governments to implement policies that would ensure standardization of programmes and welfare of workers in the sector.
10. The continued appointments of inappropriate persons as rectors and provost of polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of technology by governments.
11. The refusal of most state governments to implement the approved salary package (CONPCASS) and 65-year retirement age for their Polytechnics, Monotechnics and Colleges of Technology.
12. The refusal of government to carry out a comprehensive Needs Assessment of Nigeria’s public polytechnics and funding thereto.