According to reports, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has handed out a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government urging it to implement outstanding demands from the union with effect Monday, October 9, 2017 or it will embark on a strike.
The major demands include NEEDS Assessment for federal and state polytechnics at N652, 591, 478, 614 billion, Consolidated Tertiary Institution Salary Scale (CONTISS 15) N20billion and short fall in salaries as at December 2016 N2, 637, 161,000billion and earned academic allowance N3, 221,487,017billion.
The union also frowned at the federal government continued silence over the closure of Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi and Kaduna Polytechnic for about four months without any move to resolve the issues in contention.
ASUP National President, Mr. Usman Dutse, told newsmen that the decisions were taken at the just concluded National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at Abia State Polytechnic, to discuss the outcome of referendum conduct by the chapters. He said government has not release funds to any polytechnic on NEEDS and payment arrears of CONTISS 15.
He disclosed that about 70 per cent of ASUP chapters during the referendum voted for indefinite strike but that NEC decided on the 14-day ultimatum because of a letter from the government stating efforts being made to address some of the demands.
According to him, the 14-day ultimatum issued the government took effect from October 9 to 28, adding that NEC expect the federal government to take advantage of the opportunity to do the needful.
Said he: ‘’Results of the referendum presented at NEC by the chapter chairmen indicated that majority voted for indefinite strike. We decided to give government another opportunity based on a letter from the ministry intervention committee’’.
The demands of ASUP include sustained poor funding of public polytechnics as reflected in the unimplemented capital grants, withdrawals of allowances since 2016, shortfalls in personnel allocations as well as non funding of promotion exercises.
Other demands are non removal of dichotomy against HND holders, victimization of union officials, non release of check off dues, interference in union activities, non release of CONTISS 15 migration arrears, non release of visitation panel reports, delay in review of the Federal Polytechnics Act, non commencement of renegotiation of ASUP/FG agreement of 2010 and tardiness in appointment of rectors of federal polytechnics.
The ASUP president explained that NEC condemned the failure of the federal government to address the issues that lead to the continuous closure of Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi and Kaduna Polytechnic and demanded for immediate action to reopen the two institutions.
‘’For the federal government to allow the internal crisis at Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi and Kaduna Polytechnic to linger on for over three months is an indication of its contempt for polytechnic and technical education. NEC is worried about the situation and wants the issues resolved to allow for the reopening of the institutions’’, Dutse noted.
He explained that NEC also condemned the backlog of salaries owe its members in state polytechnics and asked what the state governors did with the two Paris refund money by the federal government.
His words: ‘’Our members in Oyo, Osun, Benue, Kogi, Abia, Edo and Bayelsa states are owed salaries between four to nine months. These state governors have collected billions from two Parish refund recently, they ought to have used it to settle outstanding salaries of state workers. It is a shame that lectures in polytechnics are owed backlog of salaries. It is a reflection our commitment to polytechnic and technical education in the country.’’
Dutse further revealed that NEC frowned at the manner in which the state government is handling the situation at Moshood Abiola Polytechic (MAPOLY), Ogun State and vowed that ASUP would resist the conversion of the institution to a university.
The ASUP boss said the governor should have established a new university rather than convert an existing polytechnic with over 16,000 students and about 1,500 staff noting ‘’the purported establishment of new polytechnic at Ipokia was politically motivate.
ASUP General Secretary, Mr. Anderson Ezeibe, CONTISS 15 migration for lower staff was approved in 2009 but government refused to release fund for the payment while the NEEDS Assessment was completed in 2014.