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ASUU STRIKE POLITICALLY MOTIVATED, SAYS AMAECHI

By NBF News
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THE resumed industrial action by teachers at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) has been described by the state government as politically motivated.

Governor Chibuike Amaechi, while reacting to the resumption of strike by the teachers, said government would not be blackmailed into changing its position on the payment of the enhanced consolidated package of 70 per cent, which was jointly agreed by labour and government in February 2011.

RSUST Academic Staff Union of Universities Chairman, Dr. Felix Igwe, had told The Guardian through text message that his union has resumed the suspended strike.

Igwe said both the governing council and River State Economic Advisory Council had reneged on the agreement reached with the union, which led to the suspension of the over three months industrial action occasioned by the failure of the state to implement agreement reached between ASUU and the Federal Government.

But Amaechi insisted that the state government would uphold the terms of agreement reached between the two parties, which were to pay 70 per cent of the consolidated package.

He stressed that it was unfair for the teachers to engage in clandestine meetings with some opposition politicians in Port Harcourt, where they were instigated to proceed on strike, at the detriment of the students' population. He therefore urged the people to ignore the antics of these opposition politicians.

According to him, 'I have therefore decided that after the elections, I will meet with the students of the University of Science and Technology to decide how they want their Institution to be run, because they are a major stakeholding interest.'

The governor recently explained to civil society organisations in the state that it would be difficult for the state government which monthly recurrent expenditure is above N5 billion and with a monthly allocation of N10 billion, due to the ceding of her oil wells to Akwa-Ibom and Bayelsa states to pay 100 per cent consolidated salary to teachers and doctors.

Amaechi who decried why the teachers embarked on strike, recalled that the state government, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has recently agreed to the payment of the 70 per cent of the consolidated salary after weeks of negotiations.

Amachi said he remained committed to the fixing and re-inventing of the local economy, by stimulating the growth of the government spending on infrastructure.

While underscoring how careless and reckless these politicians in the opposition have been in handling public funds, the governor cautioned that those who go to equity do so with clean hands.