By Ebebe Florence
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has threatened that its members may withdraw their services in polytechnics across the country if the government fails to do the needful in the implementation of the Union’s Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with it in April, 2021.
It added that it would deepen consultations on the next steps as there will be no further warnings if the government does not move quick to avert another round of strike.
The union urged the public to hold the government and its agencies
responsible for any other breakdown of industrial harmony in polytechnics.
These are contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the 101 regular meeting of the National Executive Council of the Union at the Gateway ICT Polytechnic, Saapade, Ogun State, which was made available to journalists in Bauchi by the Union.
According to the communiqué, the NEC meeting frowned at government’s lethargic approach towards implementation of some items in the MoA it signed with the Union despite the three-month suspension corridor granted
by the Union.
The communiqué signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Yalwa, stated that of particular interest in the items included the non-release of minimum wage arrears to staff of federal polytechnics and several state-owned polytechnics, as well as the non-release of the approved sum of N15 billion revitalisation fund for the sector more than three months after the approval.
It also noted non commencement of the renegotiation of the Union’s 2010 agreement despite the reconstitution of governing councils, as well as the continued nonpayment of salaries in several state-owned institutions.
The communiqué expressed the Union’s dismay at recent reports of infractions in the process of appointment of principal officers in federal polytechnics and
some state-owned polytechnics in
disregard of extant provisions in establishment laws.
“In view of the unsatisfactory status of the implementation of the Union’s MoA signed with the government in April 2021, the Nigerian public should hold the government and its agencies
responsible for any other breakdown of industrial harmony in the sector as our Union and her members have shown considerable patience and restraint.
“The Union once again demands that the government should without further delay ensure the release of the arrears of the minimum wage to staff, release the approved revitalization fund for the sector and set up the implementation committee to administer the funds,
recommence the renegotiation of
the Union’s 2010 agreement and withdraw institutional accreditation to state-owned institutions where
salaries are owed to staff,” the communiqué read in part.
It noted the events at Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe, where the process of appointment of the Rector was flawed from inception leading to the shortlisting of unqualified persons, as well as
Federal Polytechnics, Offa and Mubi where the process have been tainted by the deliberate exclusion of qualified persons.
According to the communiqué, the NEC also noted events at the Federal Polytechnics Oko, Offa, Auchi and Kaura Namoda where council affairs were being relocated to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, saying that this was being done without due consideration to the cost implication on the institutions, safety of staff and sensitive documents, as well as general administration of the affected institutions.
The Union then urged the
government to revisit the appointment processes for principal officers at the Federal Polytechnics Ekowe, Offa and Mubi with a view to ensuring strict compliance with the provisions of the Federal Polytechnics Act.
It also called for a stop to the emerging trend of taking governing council meetings and activities to Abuja by governing councils of some polytechnics.