The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has suspended its 15-day nationwide strike with effect from Wednesday, November 29. President of ASUP, Usman Yusuf Dutse, disclosed this in a press conference held at the Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi, while giving an update on engagement between the union and the federal government.
The union is currently holding its 14 National Delegates Conference in Bauchi, co-hosted by the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi and the Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi.
Dutse said that the decision to suspend the strike action was because of the consideration of its impact on the society, including parents and students and pleas on the union by well-meaning Nigerians and other stakeholders.
The ASUP President recalled that on November 13, 2017, members of the union nation-wide withdrew their services on the directive of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union on an indefinite strike action.
He listed the issues that led to their action to include non- implementation of the report of the NEEDS ASSESSEMENT survey of polytechnics, sustained shortfall in personnel releases and withdrawal of their allowances since December, 2015, and non-payment of promotion arrears.
Dutse also disclosed that other issues include non-implementation of staff salaries in some state owned polytechnics, infractions in the appointment process of rectors of polytechnics, non-release of CONTISS 15 migration arrears, non-passage of amendment bill of the polytechnic act and continued victimisation of officers of the union.
He said that ASUP had been engaged in series of meetings with the Federal Government represented by the ministers of Education, Labour and Employment, National Salaries and Wages Commission, Budget office of the federation, office of the Head of Service of the Federation and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. He said that following these meetings, a memorandum of settlement and action (MoS) was agreed and signed to by the federal government and the union on each of the issues in dispute after key resolutions were reached.
Among the resolutions reached consideration for implementation the NEEDS ASSESSEMENT report to the Presidency for approval, release of withheld shortfalls owed affected polytechnics to be released before December 31, 2017, revisit report of ministerial committee on the verification of CONTISS 15 (2015) arrears and conclusion of exercise by January 31, 2018.
Other resolutions were:, the Governing Councils of Polytechnics to adhere strictly to the template developed by the FME for appointment of Rectors in polytechnics, and intervention on the issue of the sack Chairmen for resolution before 31st December, 2017 among others.
“While we are not unawares of the penchant of Government over the years to wilfully renege on agreements of this nature with labour unions including ours, it is the considered view of our nation that the contents of this MoS be given chance of implementation particularly as there is a mechanism for monitoring and evaluation embedded in the MoS,” the ASUP President, said.
He said the action is to give an opportunity at implementation and “shall be reviewed according to the time lines out line in the MoS”