The Academic Staff Union Of Polytechnics (ASUP), the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP) have alerted the federal government of plans to resume its suspended nationwide strike over failure of Federal Government to implement agreements entered into with the workers through their unions, liveschoolnews.com.ng grapevine learnt on Monday, 16th February, 2015.
All the three workers’ unions have agreed to embark on an industrial action over the suspension of the implementation of CONTISS 15.
The unions involved are the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP).
The workers are aggrieved following alleged circular from the office of the Minister of Education suspending the implementation of CONTISS 15 in the Polytechnics contrary to the agreement entered into between the sector and the government.
The unions said their attention had been drawn to a circular FME/S/66/C.2/11/270 dated January26,2015 emanating from the office of the Minister of Education; “purported to have suspended the implementation of CONTISS 15 without recourse to the spirit and letters of agreement with the unions in the sector.”
In a statement issued and jointly signed by the unions at the weekend, they warned against a potential breakdown in academic activities in polytechnics nationwide -, if the Minister of Education fail to reverse the purported circular suspending the implementation of CONTISS 15.
Signed by the General Secretary, ASUP, Usman Nda-Umar; the General Secretary, SSANIP ,Monday Jegede and the General Secretary, NASU , Peter Adeyemi, the statement said the workers had maintained the highest standards of diligence, patience and due process in their engagement with government and its agencies; but warned that these virtues should not be misconstrued for fragility.
“We strongly caution that our goodwill should not be taken for granted. Failure to reverse this retrogressive and illegitimate directive will leave our unions with no other choice but resort to the last option.
“We also demand that all outstanding issues in our portfolio of demands be concluded forthwith without further delay to avert a completely avoidable breakdown in industrial peace in polytechnics,” they said.
It would be recalled that the over eight-month strike embarked upon by the workers in Polytechnics was suspended on July 21, 2014 following the intervention by the Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekaru while he was newly appointed. He gave his strong assurances that the thorny issues would be resolved within three months..
The statement said: ”The unions resolved to give the government a benefit of the doubt and suspended the strike in July 2014.
“Unfortunately and sadly, six months after and despite repeated assurances in several meetings with the Minister of Education, what we get is the suspension of a statutory salary structure (CONTISS 15) approved by the late President, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, which implementation dates back to 2009.”
The unions lamented that no reasonable progress had been made on the other issues as promised, stating that the white paper on the visitations to federal polytechnics is yet to be released five years after the exercise.
They also stated that the discrimination against polytechnic graduates had heightened in the labour market due to non-removal of ceiling on their career progression and that the polytechnic sector is still being grossly underfunded.
Besides, they added that the National Polytechnics Commission (NPC) is yet to be established contrary to agreement reached and that not much progress had been made in the review of the Polytechnic Act, among other demands.
They also regretted that the Needs Assessment of public polytechnics had been abandoned nine months after the exercise was concluded and the report submitted to government.
“Disturbingly, the rot and decay in the polytechnic system on account of incompetent governance and administration deepens progressively as supervision appears extensively compromised,” the statement said.