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ASUP to down tools over non-implementation of pact

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
18 October 2018   |   2:40 am
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has indicated its readiness to embark on an indefinite strike action beginning from next week Tuesday, October 23, 2018, if its demands are not met.

Usman Dutse

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has indicated its readiness to embark on an indefinite strike action beginning from next week Tuesday, October 23, 2018, if its demands are not met.

The union, which issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government on October 2, 2018, said its members were unhappy about the non-implementation of an agreement reached with the government.

The President of the union, Usman Dutse said in Abuja that the union took the decision to embark on industrial action at the end of its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.He said: “We are, therefore, using this medium to issue a 21-day ultimatum effective October 2, 2018, for the government to address these lingering issues and call the NBTE to order or face an avoidable total and comprehensive shut down of the sector.”He explained that ASUP went on an industrial action in November 2017 to draw the attention of government to the need to reverse the growing trend of neglect of the technical education sector.

He identified areas of concerns to include: the non-implementation of the NEEDS Assessment report of 2014; non-release of promotion arrears of members as well as persistent shortfalls in the personnel releases of Federal Polytechnics since 2016; non-payment of negotiated allowances in polytechnics; non-payment of salaries and other staff entitlements in many state owned institutions; non-release of CONTISS 15 migration arrears; infractions in the appointment process of rectors in polytechnics; non-passage of the amendment bill of the Polytechnics Act and victimization of union officers.

He also hinted that the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed as a precursor to suspending the industrial action prescribed actionable timelines as well as a monitoring mechanism in the form of a rapid response team led by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education.He also said that in August 2017 the committee for the renegotiation of the FGN/ASUP 2010 Agreement was inaugurated by the Minister of Education, which was saddled with the responsibility of renegotiating the last agreement signed between the government and the union in 2010.

He explained that the agreement was due for renegotiation in 2015 according to the prescriptions of the agreement and in line with relevant ILO conventions. Dutse said the union met on the 2nd of October 2018 in Abuja to appraise the extent of execution of the activities as well as discuss other pressing issues in the sector. He noted that the meeting observed that the terms of settlement as contained in the memorandum are yet to be satisfactorily implemented.

Also, that the NEEDS Assessment report of 2014 remain unimplemented while the government’s excuse of ‘searching for sources of funding’ increasingly becoming watery in the face of reports of recent releases to a sister sector as revitalization fund, amplifying the echoes of discrimination.

He equally observed that shortfalls in personnel releases still persist in some Federal Polytechnics while arrears of same shortfalls are still owed and allowances of the union’s members are still owed in arrears and unpaid in many institutions without any effort at properly situating the responsibility of paying these negotiated allowances.

He added that arrears of CONTISS 15 migration are still owed for the lower cadre with the government appearing rudderless on the issue. Dutse also decried the amendment bill of the Polytechnics Act is yet to be signed into law. He also bemoaned the victimization of members of the union in some states that have proscribed the existence of the union.

Dutse also disclosed that as a result of the victimisation, the monitoring mechanism to monitor the level of implementation has since broken down, painting a picture of hopelessness in the successful implementation of the terms of the memorandum of settlement.

He also lamented the renewed plan to force its members to into the IPPIS system, saying, “in an apparent display of betrayal, the NBTE which has refused to commit to the successful conclusion of the renegotiation process is employing underhand strategies to force our members into the platform with or without our emoluments secured. We are appalled that the NBTE had kick started this new arm twisting regime by convening a meeting with the IPPIS and the managements of polytechnics without the unions, where they resolved to force our members into the platform. It is on record that the other legs of the tripod in the tertiary division of the nation’s education landscape are not facing such level of intimidation. This has strengthened our position that the future of polytechnics in the country indeed lies outside the regulations of the NBTE.”

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