The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has suspended its two-month-old strike, five days after its university colleagues halted theirs.
Usman Dutse, the national president of ASUP, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES by phone that the strike had been suspended.
The union, after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, however, said it would not hesitate to resume the strike if the government failed ”to review the memorandum of action and ensure full implementation before the end of May 2019”.
The lecturers embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike on December 12, joining their university colleagues who had been on strike since November 4.
The strike was over the non-implementation of the 2009 and 2017 agreements reached with the union by the federal government, non-payment of allowances, victimisation of union members, among others.
The union lamented that none of the agreements had been implemented.
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The details of the agreements cover the working conditions of members of the union; review of the obsolete legal regimes and other policy documents which serve as governing instruments in the sector; non-existence/deplorable state of the existing facilities including classrooms, libraries, students’ hostels, laboratories, workshops, studios and office accommodation, etc.
The government, on December 17, resumed talks with the leaders of the union. Both parties agreed to reconvene on January 10.
While briefing journalists, the national president of ASUP, Usman Dutse, said the request for a revitalisation fund of N15 billion had been met by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
“It is expected that the funds shall be available for disbursement to deserving institutions by April 2019. Equally, the approval of the NEEDS ASSESSMENT report shall be pursued with all diligence to ensure a sustained intervention in the infrastructure and other needs of our institutions,” Mr Dutse said.
On salary shortfall, promotion arrears and allowances, Mr Dutse said the union ”was informed of the release of N16.7 billion covering agencies of government, including affected polytechnics cleared by the Presidential Initiative for Continuous Audit for shortfalls and promotion arrears”.
“A circular had also been released to all rectors conveying increased personnel funding for 2019 and directing the payment of full salaries and allowances in polytechnics. A schedule from the office of the Federal Ministry of Finance containing institutions contained in phase 1 of the shortfall refund payments has been released.
”Our union notes that 11 institutions from the sector are cleared to receive funds from the approved tranche. Our union has been reassured that the next phase will contain more institutions,” he said.
According to Mr Dutse, it was agreed that the documents currently before the Head of Civil Service of the Federation ”be retrieved, reviewed to address the concerns of our union and presented to the board of the NBTE before the end of March 2019 for approval”.