The President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Comrade Anderson Ezeibe, explained why the striking polytechnic teachers will sustain the ongoing strike nationwide.
Ezeibe said despite the offers made by the Federal Government during the meetings held with the union, the leadership decided to continue with the strike in the interest of education in the country, especially polytechnic education.
While giving an update on the strike, the ASUP President acknowledged that the union received offers from the government for the release of an infrastructure revitalization fund of N15 billion for the sector, as well as the release of the 10 months arrears of the new minimum wage owed them, but within a yet to be determined period.
He, however, emphasized that the offers made by the government so far were not enough for them to suspend the strike.
Ezeibe explained further that the leadership of the union presented the offers to the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union, but added that after due consideration, the NEC resolved to continue and sustain the strike.
He said: “Following the consideration of the offers as presented, the NEC of our union resolved to sustain the strike action until the unresolved details in the offer are sorted out in the meeting(s) expected in the coming days.”
Specifically, he explained that some of the issues in contention were still hanging even after the two meetings held with the government.
He also pointed out that there was no concrete evidence on the release of N15 billion infrastructure revitalization fund and the 10 months arrears of the new minimum wage owed the workers.
According to him, the NEC and members of ASUP nationwide would want the funds dropped or are very sure of approval before they can consider suspending the strike.
Ezeibe said: “NEC also resolved that Nasarawa, Benue, Abia, Edo and Kaduna state governments should equally be encouraged to engage representatives of the union like the earlier referred states on issues of owed salaries and non-implementation of promotions in affected institutions.”
The ASUP president, however, pointed out that the meetings held on April 6 and 14 recorded some gains, adding, “immediate gains recorded within this period include the reconstitution and inauguration of governing councils of all Federal Polytechnics in the country (dissolved since May 2020) thereby completing the governance structures of the institutions as captured by the law.
“The value addition is that stalled staff appraisal processes can now be concluded, principal officers can also be appointed, the union’s renegotiation processes with the government can now be re-started and concluded, as well as other duties ascribed to councils by law can now be performed, thereby concluding the emergence of a new legal regime for all federal polytechnics.
“In the same vein, the visitation panels are now empowered to perform their duties having been inaugurated within the period as well, while a substantive executive secretary has been appointed for the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).”