Chris Steven, Abuja
Academic activities across public polytechnics in the country may soon be paralysed as the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has threatened to resume its suspended industrial action that lasted 11 months in 2014.
The union said the strike would be premised on over victimisation of its members, non payment of allowances by government and interference in union activities.
According to the National President of ASUP, Comrade Usman Dutse who spoke with Journalists in Abuja at the weekend, an emergency meeting of an organ of the union has been fixed for summoned for 24 and 25 January, 2017 to deliberate on the next line of action.
Comrade Dutse who said an ultimatum issued by the union for federal government to address the issues in December, has since expired, lamenting the neglect of the Polytechnic sub -sector by government.
He said technical and vocational education would have been the option to the diversification move federal government is making, stressing that without proper funding and attention given to the sub-sector, it would be difficult to achieve such plan.
His words: “We gave government an ultimatum in December last year over pending issues in the Polytechnic, and the ultimatum has elapsed last week. Though government invited us for meeting, and that is ongoing. We have also summoned a meeting of our organ, the National Executive Council (NEC) between 24-25 January 2017 to deliberate on the challenges and also our meeting with the government so as to decide on the next line of action.
“The contentious issues are the shortfall in personnel, non payment of academic allowances, Needs assessment, review of the Polytechnic Act, dichotomy between HND and BSC, interference in union activities by some rectors of Federal Polytechnics, promotion arrears, non appointment of Board of Federal Polytechnics, and non implementation and arrears of CONTISS 15.
We are talking about diversifying, you need education to innovate, create before you can diversify. We also believe technical and vocational education is the best tool to achieve this, considering that it is capital intensive, government must fund the sector properly so as to develop the facilities and infrastructure so that our youths can acquire adequate and relevant skills to help emancipate the economic from the present situation crisis”.
It would be ecalled that the union in 2014 embarked on an industrial action over similar issues that disrupted academic activities in Polytechnics in Nigeria for 11 months.