COEASU protests against protracted strike

By The Citizen

Teachers at the Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo, on Thursday embarked on a process to protest against their prolonged strike.

The nationwide strike under the aegis of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), started on Dec. 31, 2013.

Addressing journalists, the Chairman of Ikwo chapter of the association, Mr Greg Esheye, said the procession was in accordance with the directive of the national leadership of the union.

Esheye said that every chapter of the union was expected to organise a procession to register the members' protests against the government's alleged insensitivity and inaction to resolve the industrial dispute.

'The peaceful procession is a national directive and one of the strategies designed to inform the public on why COEASU is on a nationwide strike.

'We believe that journalists are better placed to inform and educate the general public on why our union embarked on a nationwide strike.

'Again, we use the procession to condemn in strong terms the stoppage of our salaries by the authorities of the institution,'' he said.

The unionist said the withholding of the February salaries was a tactical move to weaken the union and force the members to back out from the strike.

'We are not going to be hoodwinked by this very decision, we are committed to this struggle and by the grace of God, our victory is in sight,'' he said.

Also speaking, the Secretary of the union, Mr Osondu Okoronkwo, condemned the action of the school authorities for allegedly stopping their salaries.

Meanwhile, efforts to speak with the Provost of the college, Prof. Silas Omebe, failed as he was said to be in a meeting.

A dependable source at the bursary department, however, said on condition of anonymity that the salaries were actually withheld.

'The Ebonyi policy of no-work-no-pay operates in every sector of the state's economy.

'The bursary department was directed not to payroll the members of the union who are on strike and we just have to obey the order,'' the source said.

The union is alleging that the federal government had failed to implement an agreement it reached with the union in 2010.