COAESU threatens to embark on strike shortly after ASUU, ASUP strike action

ABUJA – LECTURERS in the country’s colleges of education have given the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to address challenges in the colleges or to close academic activities in schools altogether.

This came when the teachers, under the honor of Teaching Colleges’ Academic Staff Union, COEASU, accused the government of non-commitment to solving challenges in the subsector of teaching colleges.
The union’s position was contained in a statement, Tuesday, and signed by its president, dr. Smart Olugbeko and general secretary, dr. Ahmed Bazza Lawan, respectively.

It recalled that, “The National Executive Council (NEC) of our Grand Union convened on Friday, May 6, 2022 at the Federal College of Education, Okene, Kogi State to discuss the outcome of the nationwide referendum on all chapters , to compile, to re-evaluate the the seriousness of the government for resolving bad issues and decision on the way forward.NEC noted with consternation that the FG was ridiculously unfair to the Union by the understanding shown over time to be taken for granted and to leave issues unaddressed despite the union’s requests. ”
It explained that the decision to set the ultimatum came after extensive deliberations.

“After extensive deliberations on the outcome of the referendum held on divisions of the Union, the NEC decided to impose an ultimatum of 21 days on the government from Monday 9 May 2022.
“NEC has further decided that in the unforeseen event that the government fails to take the necessary action within the period of the ultimatum, the Union will declare appropriate industrial action.

“The NEC has called on well-meaning Nigerians and stakeholders in the tertiary education sector to urge the government to take urgent and urgent action before this ultimatum expires,” the statement said.
Among other issues the union claimed, which necessitated its action, was the “Dilly-dallying attitude of the government towards renegotiating COEASU-FGN 2010 agreement.”
“While the long-awaited renegotiation of the COEASU-FGN 2010 agreement holds enormous promise for the mutual solution of various challenges that spoil the COE system, the FG has failed to give the exercise deserved priority. “Ridiculously enough, the FG refused to put together its own renegotiation team after acknowledging receipt of our Union’s team list at its own request for more than two months,” it reads.
The organization also cited “Non-release of promised N15b revival fund” as its reason for threatening the strike.
“The government has refused to comply with our demand for fulfillment of its own promise of N15b revival fund. Aside from being far from N478b to be the outcome of the 2014 Presidential Needs Assessment on public COEs, the delay in its release has made nonsense about the value due to inflation. More ridiculous is that media reports quoted the esteemed Minister of Education who said on several public occasions that the revival fund had been released by the FG, while what we received was a call to suggest modalities for the payout. “The frustrating wait for the disbursement of this fund continued after that,” it said.
Another weak reason, according to COEASU, is: “Funding of colleges of education and poor conditions in state-run COEs.”
“Despite our turmoil and the government’s persistent promise of redress, both federal and state governance organizations remain poorly funded; rule of impunity, statutory violation and administrative deviation continues; our members, especially in government management organizations, continue to suffer unprecedented hardship through non-payment of salaries and arrears of salaries, refusal to fully implement the statutory salary structure, strange promotion criteria, peculiar policies, not / improper housekeeping of 65-year-old retirement age for workers in the COE system, multiple promotions without financial consequences, suppression of Union activities, just to name a few. Many colleges find it difficult to run smoothly due to the non-exemption from operating costs by the government. Many state governments have relinquished their responsibility as owners of TETFund, as the only projects you see in the colleges are TETFund projects, ”it claimed.
Another reason, it said, was “FG’s stubborn insistence on IPPIS against more reliable alternative from UTAS.”
“The integrated staff and payroll information system (IPPIS) is causing more havoc for tertiary institutions than good. By the end of March 2022, one thousand two hundred and nineteen (1,219) lecturers in COEs will experience one or the other problem with IPPIS. COEASU has called for the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), an alternative innovation of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). UTAS has been found to be superior to IPPIS as it has the ability to address our concerns about payroll security and the peculiarities of tertiary institutions. It is therefore ridiculous that FG remained determined to retain IPPIS despite its harmful consequences, ”he added.

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