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#ASUPStrike: "We will not resume until FG meets our demands"

The plea by the Federal Government to allow it pay striking polytechnic lecturers 15 months salary arrears in two instalments, has fallen on the deaf ears of the Union as they have insisted that its action would not be called off until all demands are met.

At a recent meeting with the chairmen of the Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics in Abuja, the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, said government was committed to paying CONTISS 15 in two installments in March and November 2014 which stands at over N40 billion.

“At our exhaustive meeting with ASUP, we agreed on the two instalmental payment of the CONTISS 15. We have since raised a memo to the President to this effect. I took the risk of committing government because we are deeply worried over the prolonged strike,” he said.

“Thereafter, ASUP wrote to inform us that they have rejected this offer. Please, as chairmen of Polytechnic Governing Councils, we ask that you communicate our commitment to adhering to the schedule of payment. All the processes are on and we are committed to resolving the strike action.”

But giving reasons for their rejection of government’s offer, the Chairman, ASUP, Mr. Chibuzor Asomugha, said government failed its promise.

He stated that “Of the 13 issues we raised, government selected four which it promised to treat as urgent. The four issues include release of the White paper on Visitation to Federal Polytechnics; the completion of the constitution of the Governing Councils for federal polytechnics; the migration of the lower cadre on CONTISS 15 salary scale; and the commencement of the Needs Assessment of Nigerian polytechnics.

“We suspended the strike and gave government one month to resolve these issues, but it was not until we resumed strike again in January that government commenced the Needs Assessment and completed the constitution of the Governing Councils for federal polytechnics.

“On the CONTISS 15 salary scale, we agreed with government for it to be paid in two installments in the months of March and September, but government reneged on our agreement and changed the date to November without consulting us.

“We convened an emergency NEC meeting and members agreed we reject the offer because the Minister is trying to reduce our demands to just one issue without considering the fact that we had tabled these issues before government since February 2012.

“It is so unfair that government has settled universities but has neglected polytechnics which I attribute to government’s general disregard for polytechnics. We were supposed to have open discussions with government on the remaining issues since July 2013 but government is not bringing that up.”

Meanwhile, ASUP has directed its different chapters to start mass protests in their different locations so as to press home their demands.

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