By Gabriel Dike
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) on Tuesday kept to their threat as the industrial action by lecturers grounded academic activities in the nation’s public polytechnics.
The indefinite strike by the polytechnics lecturers also disrupted ongoing examinations and academic meetings as members boycotted them in line with the National Executive Council (NEC) directive.
Recalled that ASUP NEC after series of letters, discussion with government officials and ultimatums, directed lecturers in federal and state polytechnics to begin an indefinite strike on Tuesday, April 6 to press home the implementation of their nine demands.
Last minute effort by the Federal Government to stop the union from going ahead with the industrial action hit the rock despite a meeting between the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu and ASUP national leaders held on Tuesday.
In compliance with the NEC directive, lecturers in the polytechnics nationwide down tool and in some cases stayed away from their offices.
The National President of ASUP, Mr. Anderson Ezeibe said reports from state and federal polytechnics indicate full compliance by ASUP members as only non-academic members were at their duty post.
Ezeibe told Daily Sun that the first day of the nationwide strike was successful and confirmed the grounding of academic activities in over 92 public polytechnics.
He confirmed that at the meeting, the Federal Government asked the union to suspend the strike which was rejected because non of the issues in contention has been addressed.
The ASUP president said he told the education minister to get other ministries and agencies involved in the ongoing discussion at the next meeting, ”despite our meeting today (Tuesday), the strike has continues. We just started, there is nothing on table to warrant the suspension of the strike.”
At Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), ASUP congress endorsed the strike and members were asked to stay away from any academic activities including part-time and online lessons.
ASUP YABATECH chairman, Mr. Remi Ajiboye said members have joined the national strike and all academic activities have been on put hold until government address their demands.
He said executives would monitor the strike to ensure full compliance by members.
Ajiboye listed the demands to include non-inauguration of governing council, non-release of NEEDS Assessment since 2014, establishment of National Polytechnics Commission, promotion arrears for 2018, 2019, and 2020, IPPIS (3rd parties deduction) not remitted, minimum wage for ten months, violation of the Polytechnics ACt 2019, outstanding salaries in state polytechnics and renegotiation of 2009 signed agreement.
Zonal Coordinator of ASUP, Zone A, Dr. Kasim Ibrahim, told our Correspondent that the members in the various branches complied with the NEC directive to embark on strike.
Ibrahim disclosed that the national body wrote rectors about the strike, thus the union will kick against any attempt to victimise members for participating in the national strike.
The coordinator also confirmed that the leadership of the union met with the education minister, adding ”I hope the meeting will be fruitful. The strike has commenced, no going back.
We disappointed with the education minister. Notice for the strike was issued two weeks ago and he is just calling for the meeting today (Tuesday). Our leaders received the invitation late. The meeting ought to have been held long ago.”
Also, the Zonal Coordinator, ASUP Zone B, Mr. Abdullahi Yalwa, said the branches in the zone commenced strike as directed by NEC.