Written by Godfrey AKON

FG begs ASUP to shelve strike action

The Federal Government has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, to consider the plight of students and shelve its planned strike which is due to commence this week.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arch Sonny Echono, made the appeal in a meeting between members of the union and a negotiating team from the ministry in Abuja.

ASUP had issued a 21 day ultimatum which expires on Monday 22nd of October 2018, for the government to respond to its demands or expect strike action.

But arising from the meeting which lasted several hours, Echono asked the union to reconsider its stand as some demands made by the union were currently being addressed.

According to him, directives have been given to ensure that members of the union who were suspended or victimized by some managements of polytechnics on account of their participation in union activities are expeditiously recalled.

On the NEEDS assessment to revitalize facilities in Polytechnics, he said the scope of the polytechnics had been updated and current estimate to bring facilities in the institutions to optimum level stood at N800 billion.

He said submission had been made to the federal government for both the polytechnics and colleges of education, adding that government has given the ministry an assignment to find out ways of adopting a sustainable funding model for education.

On the non-release of CONTISS 15 migration, Echono noted that the leaders of the union made a strong case with the delays associated with it and arrears that have remained unpaid.

He said the Federal Ministry of Finance has given assurances that a number of steps would be taken quickly to ensure that the lecturers are paid before December 2018.

The perm sec assured that the ministry will continue to engage the office of the Head of Service to ensure that issue related to scheme of service as well as migration to CONTISS 15 are also treated expeditiously.

He said government was placing special focus to the polytechnics through its policy on Technical, Vocational Education and Training, TVET, to ensure that they provide the required manpower for the skills set needed to grow the country’s economy.

“We already have approval of funding from the World Bank to drive skills development programme in our polytechnics and colleges of education; initial of $300 million and another $100 million US dollars have been mobilized to pursue this programme effectively,” he said.

Responding, the National President of ASUP, Comrade Usman Dutse, said he would report to the national executive council, NEC, of the union and discuss the resolutions to take a final decision.

Dutse urged government to ensure that issues agreed upon will not be killed while they are still in view.



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