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STRIKE CRIPPLES POLYTECHNICS

By NBF News

The strike embarked upon by the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP) has grounded administrative and academic activities in the polytechnics. The one-week industrial action will further cripple the polytechnics as already, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) have been on indefinite strike for two weeks.

The National President of SSANIP, Alhaji Ganiyu Akinleye, told Daily Sun last Wednesday that reports from the various branches nationwide indicate full compliance and that the Federal Government has not reacted to the industrial action.

Akinleye said compliance has led to the closure of offices such as the bursary, registry, library, administrative, clinic and other sections in the polytechnics. He said that the strike would continue until the issues are addressed by government.

The decision to embark on strike was taken at its 30th National Executive Committee (NEC) and General Executive Council (GEC) meetings held at Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori last week following the inability of the Federal Government to implement the new salary structure as agreed.

The association in a communiqué at the end of the meeting and signed by, Alhaji Akinleye and National Secretary, Mr. Abraham Ndandok said the strike was the only option after the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum to the federal government to implement the agreed demands.

'The union shall proceed on a one-week warning strike with effect from Monday, July 5, 2010. At the expiration, if government has still not done anything positive, the union shall be left with no choice than to embark on indefinite strike with effect from Monday, July 12,' it warned.

It called on the federal government to expedite action on the implementation of the new Salary Structure, Consolidated Tertiary Educational Institutions Salary Structure (CONTEDISS) and accrued arrears as reflected in the 2001 re-negotiated agreement.

For the second contentious issue, the union noted with concern the continued delay in the payment of the balance of arrears of monetization by the government and called on the Accountant General of the Federation to stop using the excuse of reconciliation to further delay the payment.

According to the communiqué, the third demand is the non release of the relevant and enabling circulars to implement the 65 years as retirement age for non teaching staff in the polytechnic as contained in the agreement.

The association condemned the statement credited to the Minister of Finance that the proposed public sector salary structure increase would only affect members of ASUU, SSANU and NASU.

'This is unacceptable to council as the statement is misleading and does not reflect the terms in the recently signed 2001 re-negotiated agreement between SSANIP and government, where government agreed that whenever there is a general increase in public sector salaries and allowances, the remuneration of a non-academic staff shall be correspondingly increased' it warned.

It also faulted the continued discrimination between HND and degree holders as reflected in a statement credited to the Head of Civil Service of the Federation noting that it is a pointer to the neglect being experienced by polytechnic graduates.

The association noted the problem of funding as it affects the polytechnic system and urged government to without delay improve the funding of the polytechnics with emphasis on internal capacities of the institutions to generate funds.