The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) is threatening to shut down the nation’s Polytechnics if the government allows the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to continue to intimidate and force its members into the IPPIS payment platform without first securing their emoluments.
The union is also accusing the government of not keeping faith with the memorandum of settlements signed with the union in 2017, while frustrating the renegotiation of its agreement with government which was supposed to have been concluded in December 2017
National President of the Union, Usman Dutse said in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja that after all efforts to make the government implement its memorandum of settlement to no avail, they have no option than to give the, government a 21 day ultimatum beginning from 2nd of October.
Key issues in the dispute between the government and the union are: The non-implementation of the NEEDS Assessment report of 2014; Non release of promotion arrears of members as well as persistent shortfalls in the personnel releases of Federal Polytechnics since 2016; nonpayment of negotiated allowances in polytechnics; nonpayment of salaries and other staff entitlements in many state owned institutions; non release of CONTISS 15 migration arrears; infractions in the appointment process of rectors in polytechnics; non passage of the amendment bill of the Polytechnics Act and victimization of union officers.
While saying that the government was trying to force its members into the IPPIS play platform for the payment of salaries of federal workers, Dutse said “Our union has been on the discussion table with officials of IPPIS as well as NBTE on modalities for a smooth and safe enrolment of members into the IPPIS platform.
“The last meeting which took place in march 2018 was postponed to enable the renegotiation committee conclude its assignment and provide the needed security in the capture of the totality of members’ emoluments.
“However, in an apparent display of betrayal, the NBTE which has refused to commit to the successful conclusion of the renegotiation process is employing underhand strategies to force our members into the platform with or without our emoluments secured.
“We are appalled that the NBTE had kick started this new arm twisting regime by convening a meeting with the IPPIS and the managements of polytechnics without the unions, where they resolved to force our members into the platform.
“It is on record that the other legs of the tripod in the tertiary division of the nation’s education landscape are not facing such level of intimidation. This has strengthened our position that the future of polytechnics in the country indeed lie outside the regulations of the NBTE.
“Following these observations, the meeting of the NEC of our union has been left with no other alternative than to return to the trenches to fight for the sector, our members, our students and indeed the Nigerian state.
“We are therefore using this medium to issue a 21 day ultimatum effective 2nd October, 2018 for the government to address these lingering issues and call the NBTE to order or face an avoidable total and comprehensive shut down of the sector.”
Dutse said further that “The memorandum of settlement (MoS) signed as a precursor to suspending the industrial action prescribed actionable timelines as well as a monitoring mechanism in the form of a rapid response team led by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education.
“In August, 2017 the committee for the renegotiation of the FGN/ASUP 2010 Agreement was inaugurated by the Honorable Minister for Education. The committee was saddled with the responsibility of renegotiating the last agreement signed between the government and our union since 2010. This agreement was due for renegotiation by 2015 according to the prescriptions of the agreement and in line with ILO conventions.
“The renegotiation process was expected to be complete