The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has vowed to continue its strike pending when the federal government engages them to resolve their grievances.
In a statement on Friday by ASUP President, Anderson Ezeibe, the union said that it commenced the industrial action on April 6 to draw the attention of the government to the deplorable state of public polytechnics and monotechnics in the country.
“This is with a view to a reversal of the fortunes of the institutions and placing them on a strong pedestal towards meeting their obligations to the Nigerian people.
“We are determined to pursue this position to a logical conclusion for the benefit of the sector, the nation and in favor of the rule of law.
“While holding our position in the trenches of this ongoing engagement, we shall sustain the current engagements with the government particularly in furthering and establishing the gains of the engagements of the 6th and 14th of April 2021. Details of these shall also be made known to the public at the appropriate time,” he said.
Ezeibe said the industrial action, currently in its 10th day, has witnessed strong compliance levels by chapters of our union across the nation.
He said that the workers’ action has led to some knee jerk reactions from the government both at the federal and state levels.
He said the union had been involved in two out of three scheduled meetings with the federal government as represented by top officials of the Federal Ministry of Education as well as Labour and Employment on the 6th and 14th of April, 2021.
According to him, the third meeting scheduled for April 15 was postponed to a later date.
Ezeibe further explained that the meetings held on the 6th and 14th of April, 2021 have resulted to some significant outcomes.
He said the union will continue to press for appropriate documentations and for process-led actions and practical steps for those demands requiring immediate action.
However, Ezeibe regretted that just as the industrial action was on, government appointed new Governing Councils for all Federal Polytechnics to be inaugurated on the 20th of April, 2021.
He said the union is disappointed with the recent appointment of unqualified persons as Rectors in five out of the six new federal polytechnics in the country.
According to him, the union viewed the appointments as illegal as the beneficiaries fell short of the prequalifying criteria for such appointment as stipulated by law.
Similarly, he said that visitation panels have also been inaugurated for the federal polytechnics, despite the strong reservations by the union over the composition of the panels, among other issues.
He however said that the union hopes that the outcomes of the panels shall mark a departure from the previous practices of non-release of reports.
“We have equally witnessed the recent appointment of a substantive executive secretary of the regulatory body for the sector.
“Reports from some state governments, notably Kano, Katsina and Osun indicate ongoing and productive engagements as it affects issues of unpaid salaries, lack of governing councils and non-implementation of new minimum wage among others peculiar to the affected states,” he said.