Polytechnic lecturers consider strike over N20bn arrears

The National Executives of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has directed each branch to hold referendum on the type of strike the union should embark on, following the federal government’s alleged refusal to meet the union’s demands.
Addressing journalists yesterday, the ASUP National President, Umaru Dutse, said that “the demands of the union border on non-provision of funds for the Needs Assessment of public polytechnics, persistent shortfall in personnel cost, non-payment of salaries in many state institutions with accrued arrears of between three to nine months, even with the receipt of three tranches of the Paris Club Debt refund and budget support (bailout funds) releases to states and a bill for a review of the Polytechnic Act which has passed Second Reading at the Senate.”
He added that “ASUP’s demands are that CONTISS 15 has been the most malignant among the lingering issues, with arrears put at N20 billion, establishment of a National Polytechnics Commission, removal of dichotomy between Higher National Diploma and degree holders. which has lingered for long, despite approvals for its removal, many state polytechnics do not have governing councils and most of their programmes still run without accreditation, many institutions have now adopted alternatives to practical because of infrastructural decay and poor equipment in their laboratories, studios and workshops and poor funding, with the budgetary allocation to polytechnic grossly inadequate and unable to make any significant impact in the system.”
According to him, ASUP branches were expected to conduct the referendum from Wednesday, September 27 and September 28, 2017, while chairmen are expected to submit the outcome at NEC meeting scheduled for October 2, 2017.
The NEC meeting, which will hold at Abia State Polytechnic, is expected to collate and arrive at a resolution, based on the outcome of the referendum.Nevertheless, Dutse confirmed that the referendum will hold this week while the 89th NEC meeting is “to decide the next line of action.”

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