Hopes for a resolution of the prolonged strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) was yesterday dashed by the supervising minister of education Nyesom Wike who said the federal government was “in a fix” on how to tackle the situation.
Wike disclosed this at a reconciliatory meeting with the ASUP president Chibuzor Asomugha, COEASU chairman, Zuba, Ahmed Lawal and the president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Abdulwahed Ibrahim Omar, convened by the Hon. Aminu Sulaiman-led House of Representatives Committee on Education. The polytechnic lecturers have been on strike since October 4, 2013, while the college of education lecturers embarked on strike on December 18, 2013.
Wike disclosed that he arranged a meeting with ASUP and proposed the payment of the outstanding arrears in installments, a proposal he said ASUP rejected.
According to Wike, sequel to the rejection of the proposal by the ASUP, the Wages and Salaries Commission wrote a letter also rejecting the proposal, thereby compounding the situation.
“We are now in a fix. We are now trying to resolve the issue with Salaries and Wages Commission,” Wike spoke in reaction to the N40 billion claimed as unpaid arrears by the striking tertiary unions.
LEADERSHIP recalls that a representative of the education minister had told the House Committee on Education at an earlier meeting that the salary arrears of polytechnic staff, which is one of the major demands, was not captured in the 2014 budget. (Leadership)