The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has snubbed an appeal from the Federal Government to call off its nationwide five-day warning strike.
The union, on Tuesday, stated reasons why Kaduna Polytechnic, Polytechnic Ibadan, Osun State Polytechnic and IMT Enugu are not part of the national strike. It said the branches currently “do not have executives to pilot the affairs of the union; thus, anybody parading himself/herself as chairman is not recognised by the national body.”
At a meeting summoned on Monday by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to dialogue with ASUP national leadership, meant to avert the strike, the union stuck to its gun that the warning strike will run its full course.
ASUP General Secretary, Mr. Anderson Ezeibe, told newsmen that government delegation to the meeting was led by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, Permanent Secretary, Dr. Jamila Shu’ara and the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Dr. Masa’udu Kazaure.
He said the minister pleaded with ASUP to suspend the strike and assured that government was looking into their demands and other issues affecting the polytechnic education in the country.
But, the scribe said there was no concrete evidence on ground to show that government was sincere to address the issues and added, “we have been receiving this type of assurance since last year and nothing came out of it; just as the issue of shortfall in salary which we have been on since 2016 without success.’’
Ezeibe acknowledged that some lecturers may have worked before the national strike took off at 12 noon on Monday and that after various congresses endorsed the NEC decision, they down tool.
He said reports from various branches indicated total compliance.
On the situation at Ibadan, Kaduna, IMT and Iree Polytechnics, Ezeibe, said the members may not participate because the branches currently do not have executives to run the affairs of the unions, saying, “they need leadership to galvanise their members and this is absent in the branches.
“It is not true that they broke ranks. They were not part of the NEC that took the decision on the strike.’’
Also, yesterday, the federal government threatened to, once again, invoke the “no work no pay’’ policy.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who pleaded with ASUP to suspend the warning strike warned that there is nothing recognised in Labour laws as warning strike.
“I wish to remind the trade unions that there is nothing like a “warning strike” in our National Industrial Relations System (NIRS) – a strike is a strike and is subject to all the rules governing strike in the world of work”, said Ngige.
He stated further that “the federal government is ready and willing to fully dialogue with ASUP and will open unhindered channel of communication with all stakeholders and shall maintain this.”
Ngige explained that the Federal Ministry of Education has been discussing issues with ASUP on the concerns raised.
Two weeks ago, government threatened to invoke Section 43 when the Academic Staff of Universities Union (ASUU) embarked on a similar five-day warning strike.
Speaking specifically on Kaduna Polytechnic, Ezeibe distanced the national body from Dr. Aliyu Ibrahim’s claim of being the chairman of the branch, noting, “we didn’t invite him to NEC meeting because he is not recognised. Any person claiming to be the chairman at Kaduna, IMT and Ibadan are impostors.’’
On Iree Polytechnic, he explained that the chairman was sacked by the state government, while the Secretary was placed on suspension, adding, “the demand to reinstate the duo is part of our demands for embarking on the warning strike.’’
Giving an update of the situation on his campus, the ASUP Yaba College of Technology branch chairman, Mr. Adeyemi Aromolaran described the strike as effective, stressing that his members stayed away from lecture halls and other administrative activities in the college.
“Since yesterday (Monday), academic activities remained paralysed in the college. Today (Tuesday), few students came unlike before. I hope government will learn a lesson from this strike and address our demands. Our members are agitated. There is no break in our ranks in the strike, it is total and comprehensive as directed by NEC,’’ Aromolaran stated.