Polytechnic teachers suspend strike, return to work


Polytechnic teachers have opted not to embark on an indefinite industrial action following the expiration of their two-week warning strike notice to the Federal Government over demands bordering on failure by the later to resolve issues agreed in a memorandum of action it signed with the workers.

The teachers, under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) consequently directed its members to resume work from Monday, May 30, 2022.

ASUP said its decision not to proceed with an indefinite strike followed some achievement made so far in its demands.

It would be recalled that polytechnics lecturers across the country had commenced on an industrial action from Tuesday, May 11.

ASUO had, two weeks earlier, threatened to shut down all polytechnics in Nigeria if the Federal Government fails to meet up with its demands following the expiration of a one-month ultimatum the union gave to the government elapsed, Wednesday.

According to lecturers’ umbrella body, ASUP, the action is sequel to Federal Government’s failure to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) reached with the union in May, 2021.

Zonal Coordinator of Zone D, Mr Precious Nwakodo, announced the planned action at a press conference held at the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, Monday.

Zone D of ASUP comprises of South South and South East regions of the country.

Nwakodo said the strike was hinged on unimplemented demands made by the union, among which are the non release of the N15 billion Revatilization Fund approved over a year for the sector to address infrastructural deficit as contained in the 2014 Needs Assessment Report.

“Following the discouraging response of the government to the one month notice of ultimatum which ended five days ago, 4th of May precisely, the NEC of the union will be meeting in two days time at Abuja to review the situation and take a decision on the planned strike,” Nwakodo said.

While explaining that the Federal and state governments have failed to commence payment of 10 months arrears of the new minimum wage after 3 years of signing the bill into law, Nwakodo said that many states of the federation were yet to implement the new minimum wage in the various institutions.

He further decried the manner at which the management of the Polytechnics and Ministry of Education have continued to take actions that are clearly in contrast with the provisions of the law.

However, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Yalwa, Saturday, ASUP explained that the government had met four of its demands so far.

According to the union, the decision to resume work was to give the federal government more time to meet the remaining five demands.

“The two weeks definite strike of the union will be rounding off on the 29th of May, 2022 as agreed by the emergency meeting of NEC.

“Consequently, the union is requesting members to resume duties effective 30th of May, 2022 while hoping that government will take advantage of the window to address the five outstanding items.

“Further directives/ updates shall be released after the 103rd meeting of NEC which is scheduled to hold in the month of June 2022 during which the situation shall be reviewed.”

Recall that ASUP, on May 16, began a two-week definite warning strike following the resolution of its emergency National Executive Council meeting on the 11th of May, 2022.

The union had said the decision was taken to protest the lethargic attitude of the government towards fulfilling some aspects of the memorandum of action (MoA) signed in 2021.

Within the period of the action, the government commenced the payment of arrears of the new minimum wage in all affected Federal Polytechnics.

The government also approved and released regulatory instruments for accreditation of institutions, management and programmes.

Also, a decision was taken on the vexed issue of victimisation of union officials in the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu where five ASUP members were dismissed due to their participation in the 2017 strike of the Union.

And the issue of continued infractions in the Federal Polytechnics Act as typified by the release of a contentious template for the appointment of principal officers by the Federal Ministry of Education was also handled as the document is due to be withdrawn as agreed.

Outstanding demands of ASUP include the release of the approved N15bn revitalisation fund for the sector; the release of arrears of CONTISS 15 migration for the lower cadre and the release of the Scheme of Service and Conditions of Service.

Others include; continued delay in the appointment of substantive Rectors for Federal Polytechnics in Mubi, Offa, and Kaduna and resolution of issues with members in Colleges of Agriculture.