The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has vowed to continue its indefinite strike until the Federal Government meets its demands.
The ASUP National President, Mr Anderson Ezeibe, made the union’s position known on Friday at an emergency congress held at the Federal polytechnic, Auchi in Edo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ASUP had on April 6 embarked on a nationwide strike.
Among the demands of the union are implementation of the ASUP/FG agreement of 2010, and payment of salaries and arrears of the new minimum wage in some state-owned polytechnics.
Others are implementation of the NEEDS Assessment Report of 2014 and reconstitution of governing councils of polytechnics.
Ezeibe commended members of the union for complying with the strike directive, saying that the strike would continue until achievement of its aims.
“Our members should continue to believe in the union the way they have been doing, we have very supportive members as you can see; the strike is in full swing.
“Every polytechnic is observing the strike and compliance level is very high, we will continue to persevere, victory is around the corner,’’ he said.
He expressed satisfaction that the industrial action had begun to yield positive results.
“It is true that the government has started doing something.
“The one that has been done is the issue of governing councils that have been reconstituted and the visitation panels that have been set up.
“Offers have been made for the payment of arrears of minimum wage and the N15 billion infrastructure revitalisation fund; they are still at the level of offer because the funds have not been released.
“We want to see the funds released for the sector and we want to see some other items that require processes to be put in motion.
“If we are able to get to that point, I am sure our national executive committee will take a second look at the strike,’’ he said.
Ezeibe denied that N20 billion was collectively owed by 19 polytechnics staff members as tax liability.
According to him, such money has been deducted through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax.
He said that the union would resist any attempt to deduct same from staff salaries.
“The Office of the Accountant General alleged that we have tax liabilities to pay; that is to say that staff of the 19 polytechnics are owing collectively about N20 billion.
“You know this money – pay as you earn tax – it is deducted from staff and paid to state boards of internal revenue where they exist.
“We are not owing this money and therefore are going to resist any attempt to deduct any money from our salaries to go and satisfy such a bill,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of ASUP, Auchi Polytechnic Chapter, Mr Lawani Jimoh, thanked the national president for coming to the polytechnic to inform members of the level of progress regarding the strike.
“For us at Auchi Polytechnic, our members are committed to continuing the strike until there is a directive from the national body,’’ Jimoh said.