Education

ASUP declares warning strike, threatens indefinite shutdown of polytechnic

By Orowo Victoria Ojieh

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has announced that it will embark on a two-week strike action with effect from Monday, 16th of May 2022.

ASUP disclosed the decision in a statement released after its emergency meeting of the Union’s National Executive Council on Wednesday to review the response of the Federal Government to its ultimatum.

In a statement signed by ASUP president, Anderson Ezeibe, the union said the federal government is yet to meet their demand.

He stated that the polytechnic lecturers would withdraw their services in a two-week industrial action with effect from Monday 16th of May.

Ezeibe said that ASUP had suspended its initial strike in June 2021 following the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) with the government which contained a clear path to a sustainable resolution of the issues in dispute with timelines attached to each of them.

“Our Union suspended its industrial action declared on the 6th of April 2021 on the 10th of June 2021 following the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) with the government. The signed MoA contained a clear path to a sustainable resolution of the issues in dispute with timelines attached to each of the items in dispute” the statement noted.

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He said while the suspension of the industrial action was for three months, the government refused to address the issues raised.

As a result, the union issued an ultimatum which expired on May 4, but the situation has remained the same with no concrete effort on the government’s part.

ASUP President emphasized that the warning strike was to appeal to Nigerians to prevail on the government to do the needful within the two weeks to avoid an indefinite shutdown of the sector.

“Nine months after the suspension of the industrial action and six months after the expiration of the three months of suspension, our Union’s NEC met in its 102nd meeting in Federal Polytechnic Mubi and after reviewing the report of the implementation of the MoA, resolved to issue a 1-month ultimatum to the government effective 4th April 2022 to address the outstanding items in the MoA and other emergent issues or face the reality of another trade dispute with our Union.

“Our Union’s ultimatum expired on the 4th of May, 2022 and as is the norm, the Union’s NEC reconvened today, 11th of May, 2022 to review the response of the government to the ultimatum, particularly as it affects relevant agencies/functionaries of government.

“Within the period of the ultimatum, the Union met with the National Board for Technical Education to review the grievances with a view to resolution. Another meeting fixed at the instance of the Honorable Minister of Education (after the expiration of the ultimatum) failed to meet basic requirements for collective bargaining. Our Union stayed away from the meeting as it was not structured to address the issues in dispute. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment only acknowledged receipt of the union’s ultimatum and made no attempts at conciliation.

“Spirited efforts were also made by the Chairman of Chairmen of Governing Councils of Polytechnics in Nigeria and some members of the National Assembly in the direction of a resolution, ” the statement added.

Ezeibe also added that following exhaustive deliberations, on the update as outlined above, the emergency meeting of the Union’s National Executive Council has resolved that members should withdraw their services in a 2 weeks industrial action with effect from Monday, 16th of May 2022.

“We are deploying this medium to equally appeal to members of the public to prevail on the government to do the needful within the 2 weeks period to avoid an indefinite shut down of the sector, ” he concluded.

ASUP demands are non-release of the approved revitalization fund for the sector, non-release of arrears of the new minimum wage, non-release of the reviewed normative instruments for institution/management and programs accreditation, and delay in the appointment of rectors among others.

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