Following the threat by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) to embarked on an indefinite strike Wednesday (tomorrow). The Federal Government has immediately swing into action to avert the purported strike.

The federal government, represented by officials of the Ministries of Education and Labour and Productivity will today (Tuesday) hold a meeting with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics to discuss all outstanding issues.

ASUP had issued a two-week strike ultimatum which ends tomorrow, and threatened to start strike immediately after the expiration of the ultimatum on Wednesday (tomorrow). The ultimatum ends today.

The union is demanding the withdrawal of a circular from the Ministry of Education suspending CONTISS 15 in Polytechnics.

It is also demanding the dissolution of the governing councils of the Federal Polytechnics Oko, Anambra and in Ado Ekiti for autocratic activities

The President of ASUP, Mr. Chibuzo Asomugha in a conversation on Monday disclosed that the meeting would hold today to discuss the issues.

He said, “We are meeting the Minister of Education tomorrow (Tuesday) and we will be discussing all the issues that have been outstanding, principally the matters involving the federal polytechnics in Oko and Ado-Ekiti. The meeting started last week but we are continuing with it on Tuesday.

“The issues border on high handedness and arbitrariness by some management and council which purportedly proscribed the union. Their actions are beyond their powers.

“At the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, the school authorities sacked the chairman of ASUP there, queried all the executive members of the union and factionalised the union by sponsoring another union.

“At the Federal, Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, the management banned all unions on campus and selectively tried to witch hunt the union officials and their loyalists. This is high handedness and outside due process.”

Other grievances of the union include the continued discrimination against polytechnic graduates in public service and in the labour market in Nigeria, the non-release of the White Paper on the Visitation to Federal Polytechnics, the non-implementation of CONTISS 15 migration for the lower cadres and its arrears as from 2009 when the salary structure was approved and the non-establishment of a National Polytechnics Commission (NPC) and the wrongful continued recognition of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) as the regulatory body for polytechnics.

Others are the non-constitution of governing councils for some federal polytechnics by the federal government, the snail-pace of the review of the Federal Polytechnics Act by the National Assembly and the gross under funding of the polytechnic sub sector and continued lopsidedness in the disbursements of TETfund grants and other interventions clearly designed to the disadvantage of the polytechnic sector.

“The non-commencement of the re-negotiation of the FGN/ASUP agreement as contained in the signed agreement, the worrisome state of most state owned polytechnics and the failure of some state governments to implement policies that would ensure standardisation of programmes and welfare of workers in the sector, the continued appointments of inappropriate persons as Rectors and Provost of polytechnics, monotechnics and College of Technologies by governments.

“The refusal of most state governments to implement the approved salary package (CONPCASS) and 65-year retirement age for their Polytechnics, Monotechnics and Colleges of Technology. The refusal of government to carry out a comprehensive Needs Assessment of Nigeria’s public polytechnics and funding there to,” ASUP said in a statement issued last week.

It would be recalled that the union suspended a 10-month strike middle of last year, following assurances by the Federal Government that their demands would be attended to.

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