By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
THE Federal Government yesterday, commended the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) for calling off its warning strike and resuming duties.
The Government also lauded the union for acknowledging the efforts of the Federal Government towards the resolution of the challenges facing polytechnic education in the country.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige in a statement issued in Abuja by Olajide Oshundun, Head, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, said it was heartwarming that the polytechnic lecturers acknowledged the unrelenting efforts of the Government towards repositioning higher education in the country.
The Minister was quoted as saying, “ASUP has made a remarkable difference at a time the usual practice is for striking unions to deny that government has moved a needle in implementing agreements reached at negotiations.
“This union did not only acknowledge the efforts of the federal government, it painstakingly also listed the demands which government has met, while expressing optimism that the rest would similarly be resolved.
“This is the way to go, a commendable act which other unions in the education sector must copy, moving foward, in holistic resolution of the challenges facing higher education.”
He assured that the Government would not relent until all outstanding issues were sorted out.
Ngige, however, urged other unions on strike in the education sector to emulate the polytechnic lecturers and immediately resume work in the interest of their students and the country at large.
ASUP had in a letter to the Minister of Labour and Employment, notified him of the resumption of academic activities across polytechnics and Colleges of Technology in the country with effect from May 30,2022.
According to the letter, this follows the conclusion of the union’s warning strike which took effect from the 16th of May, 2022.
The union further stated, “It is important to note that some progress was made in resolving the issues in contention during the two weeks period. The key areas include: release of arrears of minimum wage to beneficiary institutions/staff; release of normative instruments for institutions, management and programmes accreditation by the NBTE; resolution to withdraw the contentious template for appointment of principal officers by the Federal Ministry of Education; as well as decision on the issue of victimised union officers in the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu and non-payment of salaries in Abia State Polytechnic, ABA.”
“The outstanding issues include non-release of the approved N15B revitalisation fund for the sector; delay in the appointment of substantive Rectors for Federal Polytechnics in Mubi, Offa and Kaduna; non resolution and release of arrears of CONTISS 15 migration for the lower cadre; and non-release of Scheme of Service and Conditions of Service or the sector.”
While expressing appreciation to Ngige for the progress made, the union said it was hopeful that the unresolved issues would be attended to expeditiously before its NEC meets on June 22, 2022 to review the situation.