The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics(ASUP) has put on hold its planned industrial action because of the spread of coronavirus, which has resulted in the closure of tertiary institutions in the country.
The union said it had planned to embark on strike in April because of the inability of the Federal government to keep to agreements entered since 2010 as well as the avoidable shortcomings associated with the payment of February 2020 salaries in federal polytechnics through the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.
ASUP President, Anderson Ezeibe, in a statement on Sunday said the union’s 97th National Executive Council meeting had resolved to embark on an industrial action after the expiration of a 15-day ultimatum issued with effect from March 18, 2020.
He said the ultimatum expired on April 3, 2020.
Ezeibe said that the union would embark on a nationwide strike action after the coronavirus pandemic crisis subsides in the country.
The statement reads: “As a consequence of the inability of the government to keep to agreements entered into with our union since 2010 as well as the avoidable shortcomings associated with the payment of February 2020 salaries in federal polytechnics in the country, our union’s 97th National Executive Council meeting had resolved to embark on an industrial action after the expiration of a 15-day ultimatum issued with effect from March 18, 2020. The ultimatum expired on April 3, 2020.
“Key aspects of our dispute with the government include; avoidable shortcomings in the deployment of the IPPIS payment platform in polytechnics in February 2020 salaries; non-payment of salaries in some state-owned institutions of up to 17 months; non-release of the agreed revitalisation fund in lieu of the anticipated implementation of the NEEDS Assessment survey report for public Polytechnics since 2014; Non conclusion of the renegotiation of the union’s 2010 agreement with the government; Violations of extant provisions of the Polytechnics Act (2019 Amendment) by governing councils of some Polytechnics; and others.
“The government through its agencies has remained insensitive to these issues over the years and has continued to demonstrate such attitude as seen in the delay in the release of March 2020 salaries of our members. By so doing, government has unwittingly encouraged the declaration of this impending strike action by our union.
“However, our union is concerned at the prevailing but unacceptable rate of the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic across the nation. Moved by the need to collectively arrest the growing spread of this scourge in our nation, the union has resolved to put on hold its proposed industrial action in deference to overriding national interest to resume at a more auspicious period.
“Encourage our members nationwide to play complementary roles to the extent of the deployment of their professional competencies as well as participating in safe community action efforts in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic.”