The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Anderson Ezeibe, on Tuesday, said if the Federal Government fails to meet the union’s demands by June, it may declare indefinite strike action.
Anderson said the National Executive Council would meet in June after the expiration of the union’s two-week warning strike and may declare a total strike.
Ezeibe disclosed this while addressing members of the union at a meeting held at the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro, Ogun State.
The union had declared a two-week warning strike after its emergency NEC meeting held last Wednesday over the non-release of the approved revitalisation fund for the sector, the non-release of 10 months arrears of the new minimum wage, and the non-release of the reviewed normative instruments for institution/management and programmes accreditation, among others.
Ezeibe urged his members to be prepared for more industrial actions, saying, “the strike is not ending after two weeks, that is the point, and the strike may not even end this year.”
The ASUP President lamented that the government failed to honour its agreements almost one year after it signed a Memorandum of Action with the union.
He said the union had gone on a three-month strike in 2021 to protest the government’s refusal to meet its demands.
Ezeibe noted that the two-week warning strike currently embarked upon by the union members is to signal the first layer of their protest against what he described as the irresponsibility and lack of commitment to improving the education sector.
He said, “We call the attention of the Nigerian government and the public to the level of irresponsibility being displayed by agencies of government and functionaries of government in these agencies on our issues. What we are seeing is a clear absence of commitment by the government.
“The meeting was more or less for mobilisation as you know we are on strike, and our members need to get the right perspective on the issue.
“So, the meeting essentially was to raise the morale of our members, explain the issues with them and encourage them to stand firm.
“Our members should be prepared for more strikes; this is just a two-week definite strike; it also means that we can recommend the strike, depending on the government’s decision. That is why I am telling my members to be ready.”
Meanwhile, the Nasarawa State Government-owned Isa Mustapha Agwai Polytechnic, Lafia, has joined the two-week warning strike declared by ASUP to press home its demand for better welfare.
Chairman of the union in the polytechnic, Silvester Aku, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Lafia on Tuesday.
He said, “The union had embarked on strike sometime in 2021 but suspended it after President Muhammadu Buhari approved N15bn as part of revitalisation funds.
“Unfortunately, the government failed to release the approved funds and it also failed to address other issues. So, the union was left with no choice but to speak the language that they would understand better.”
He said academic staff members of the polytechnic have complied with the directive in its entirety and would continue to stay away from their offices until further directives from the ASUP headquarters.