JUST as the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), has commenced industrial action, the Federal Government in a knee-jerk response approved the reconstitution of Governing Councils for the Federal Polytechnics.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, announced this at a parley, on Tuesday, in Abuja, with the leadership of ASUP led by its President, Comrade Anderson Ezeibe.
He informed the ASUP leadership that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the new Councils for the Polytechnics and that goverment was only waiting for the Easter break to be over to officially release the list of members of the Governing Councils and subsequent inauguration.
President of ASUP, Comrade Ezeibe presented 13-point demands to the Minister for immediate action, while insisting that the strike which commenced 12 midnight of April 6 could not be suspended in spite of the meeting with the Federal Government and appeal by the Miniter to shelve the strike.
According to him, the meeting with the minister was just the beginning of a process of resolving the issues in dispute, saying the Union had given the goverment ample time to respond to the demands of ASUP.
Ezeibe maintained the until the issues including N4 billion arrears of the minimum wage, promotion arrears from 2017 to 2020 in some schools, neglect of the sector, among others are satisfactorily resolved, the strike would not be called off.
He said, “The expiration of the union’s ultimatum issued since March 2020, as well as the development of new issues of concern in the sector due to the negligence of the government.
“Today, therefore, marks day 1 of the execution of the resolutions of our union. The strike has not been suspended as it is just a few hours old,” he said.
But the Miniter, while appealing to the lecturers to shelve the strike, said it was possible to reach an agreement with the Union while disclosing that the Governing Councils, which is one of the key demands of the Union has been approved by the President and would be inaugurated soon.
The list would be released before the end of this week by the Ministry of Education, while other demands would be expeditiously looked at for quick and amicable resolution.
Adamu who noted he would not go into specifics of the document handed over to him by the President of ASUP, which was a detailed brief of the negotiations.
On the Rapid Response Committee, which ASUP said was instrumental to peaceful resolution of some internal crises in Polytechnics in past, but has unfortunately abandoned its meetings, the Minister reassured the Union that all points raised would be carefully looked into and will be attended to.
He said, “Today, I will not go into specifics or give you any answers. If I’m not mistaken, I have 13 points that you have readout. The permanent secretary is not here, or else I would have asked him why the Rapid Response Committee is no longer holding its meetings. The committee can solve eight of the issues raised.
“For the governing council, I can assure you that it is set already. We were just waiting for the break to be over and they will be announced and inaugurated. All the points will be looked into carefully and I give you the assurance that all will be attended to,” he said.