Members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe chapter in Bayelsa, have commenced an indefinite strike over their poor working conditions, including promotion arrears, and unpaid academic allowances.
The decision to go on strike is contained in a communique jointly signed by the ASUP Chairman, Comrade Agada Franklin, and the General Secretary, Justin Ikirigo, and made available to our correspondent on Tuesday in Yenagoa
The union said the decision to commence on the strike was taken at an emergency congress on Monday over some issues that are detrimental to the members of the union.
Our correspondent learnt that a stakeholders’ meeting, led by Amb. Godknows Igali, on Monday to convince the aggrieved academic staff to shelve the strike, ended in deadlock as the union insisted that only the implementation of its demands will make its members back down.
The meeting also attended by traditional rulers from the host communities in Southern Ijaw, union leaders, the polytechnic management and student representatives was postponed to Tuesday.
The union frowned at the non implementation of accumulated promotion arrears for the years of 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 and non implementation of annual incremental steps and its arrears from January 2023 to date.
Other demands by the striking lecturers include the non implementation of the agreed 2% academic allowance, refusal to pay imprest, infrastructural decay in the campus, especially classrooms, desks and teaching aids.
“It recalled that the union suspended an earlier strike, embarked upon on 6th of August, on the 31st of August, 2022, and issued notices of further strike actions between 6th December, 2022, and 10th March, 2023.
“It made the following demands – the promotion implementation and salary arrears; 2018 promotion arrears, 2019 promotion arrears, 2020 promotion implementation and its arrears, 2021 promotion implementation and its arrears, and 2022 promotion implementation and its arrears till date.
“The 2023 Implementation of annual incremental step and its arrears from January, 2023 to date, the agreed 2% academic allowance, Imprest, removal of Infrastructural decay in the campus (Classrooms, Desks, and teaching aids) – were also on its demand list.
“The lecturers bemoaned the running of the institution from the liaison office after one decade of establishment, poor security in the campus, unkempt working environment and poor power supply that has cripple academic activities.
“In the light of the these observations, congress resolved that effective from Monday, 10th of July, 2023, the union shall embark on an indefinite strike,” the congress said in its communique.
The Rector, Dr Agbabiaka Adegoke, declined comments when contacted and did not respond to telephone calls and short message service (SMS) requesting his response.
However, several sources confirmed that the Igali-led mediatory meeting is still in session.