Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Hope of ending the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) dimmed on Friday as the union declared that it would not call off the industrial action until the Federal government honoured all the agreements it entered into with it since 2010.
The National Vice-President of ASUP, Zone C, Timothy Ogunseye, gave the declaration while addressing journalists at the ASUP secretariat of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, chapter of the union.
Ogunseye, flanked by the Zone C Coordinator, Messrs Olawale Omobaorun, stated that FG had reached three different agreements with the Union, but had failed to honour them.
He listed the 2010 FGN/ASUP agreement, 2014 Memorandum of Settlement and 2017 Memorandum of Action, noting that last week’s meeting with the FG was deadlocked, maintaining the strike would not be called off until the FG met their demands.
Ogunseye, disclosed further that non-implementation of the NEEDS assessment report of 2014, which remained one of the key issues that led to the protracted 2013/2014 strike, was yet to be implemented.
He lamented that many states of the federation owed ASUP members 14-month wages, saying such action was vivid in Abia, Edo, Kogi, Imo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Benue and Oyo states. He pointed out that in Rivers and Delta states, statutory deductions, including contributory pension and union check off dues were not remitted.
He said: “The essential components of these agreements cover working conditions of members of our union, review of obsolete legal regimes and other policy documents which serve as governing instruments in the sector, non existence/ deplorable state of existing facilities, including classrooms, libraries, students’ hostels, laboratories, workshops, studios and office accommodation etc.
“Others include discriminatory policies against the sector and its products, victimisation of union leaders and non- payment of members’ salaries in several states.”
Also speaking, Omoobaorun, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Polytechnic Act, saying it would help in solving many of the challenges facing the union.
He also appealed to stakeholders in the education sector, to intervene in what he described as play of politics and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) conspiracy against MAPOLY, regretting that the status of his members on employment was unknown.
He, however, demanded unbundling and replacement of the NBTE with a National Polytechnic Commission (NPC), submitting “NBTE has shown seeming incapacity to decisively address the deluge of challenges confronting polytechnics in Nigeria.”