COEASU Suspends Nationwide Strike

The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has suspended its nationwide strike after over two months.

President of the union, Nuhu Ogirima, announced this on Wednesday at a briefing in Abuja after its expanded National Executive Council meeting.

Ogirima said the suspension became necessary following reassurances from government to meet some of the key demands of the workers.

According to him, the suspension is to enable the government implement the agreements.

Ogirima, however, said the union will reconvene in January to re-access the government’s commitment and will not hesitate to resume the strike if it reneges in the agreement.

We Won’t Be Intimidated By FG’s ‘No Work No Pay’ Policy – Group

 

The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), has condemned the Federal Government’s decision to implement the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy.

In a statement issued by its National President, Nuhu Ogirima on Friday, the group, however, said it will not be intimidated by the decision.

It criticized the Federal Government for its “failure to deliver good governance, by addressing our issues and, indeed, those of the larger populace” adding that it rather chose to threaten workers with the policy.


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“This grandstanding is a mark of not only insensitivity but also irresponsibility towards the law-abiding labour force of our dear country,” the group said.

“Recall that we have been receiving fractional/mutilated salaries for years in all Federal Colleges of Education, especially because of the non-inclusion of PAA. Where salaries are paid, it is the cooperative societies membership subscriptions and Unions’ dues that are being used to service/augment government allocation for salaries.

“So, if we didn’t threaten government ‘no pay no work, why would government threaten us with no work no pay because we’re now requesting government to pay us full salary, by the strike?” the group asked.

Their comments follow the lingering controversy over the national minimum wage.

Director of Trade Union Services at the Ministry of Labour, Mrs Omabie Akpan, who had made an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, insisted that the government would implement the “no work, no pay policy”.

According to her, it is wrong for labour leaders to embark on an industrial action while negotiations are ongoing.

But the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, argued that it is a fundamental right of workers to embark on strikes as enshrined in the labour laws.

The labour unions had earlier embarked on an industrial action over the alleged failure of the government to reach a conclusion on the national minimum wage.

Although the strike was later suspended, and subsequent meetings were held, the Federal Government insisted that it had not reached an agreement.

The NLC in a swift reaction, faulted the claims, adding that the tripartite committee after its meeting on October 11, adopted a figure through a formal motion moved, seconded and adopted in the absence of any counter motion.

The workers are demanding an upward review of the minimum wage from N18,000.

Osun State Teachers’ College Workers Seek Removal Of Council Chairman

Osun State College of education workers protestWorkers of the Osun State College of Education in Ila Orangun on Tuesday besieged the State House of Assembly in protest, demanding for the removal of the Chairman of the Governing Council of the institution, Mr Oyeniyi Akande.

The workers, who are members of the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of the institution ‎(NASU), also vowed not to return to work until their demand was met by the State government.

Armed with placards ‎with inscriptions like; ‘Ila Governing Council Chairman  and members are thieves’, ‘enough is enough’ and ‘who is this Niyi Akande?”, the protesters marched to the Osun State House of Assembly complex in Osogbo, the capital of the state.

Addressing reporters on behalf of the protesters, the state chairman ‎of COEASU, Mr Jimoh Lasisi, said that the workers could no longer condone the victimisation and abuse of their rights under the leadership of Mr Niyi Akande, the institution’s Governing Council’s Chairman.

He said: “We came to the House to lodge a complaint against the misrule and anarchy of the Council Chairman, Mr Akande”.

The State lawmakers had earlier intervened on the issues of the 72 workers disengaged by the Council in January this year, with a directive that the status quo should remain.

“They have ‎passed a resolution to the Governor and we are sure that the Governor in his magnanimity and hospitality will approve the resolution

“But we were shocked that the Council ‎came to the campus on Friday to hold one of their usual illegal meeting. There, they resolved that the 72 people should not be allowed to come to the campus again not even taking into consideration the way such an action will affect the students.

“We have some lecturers among these people who are handling two or three courses.

“If these lecturers are not allowed into the school again, the students will be adversely affected,” he told reporters.

‘One-Man-Army’

The spokesman for the protesters further said that the council had planned to disengage more people.

He alleged that Mr Akande was ‘a one-man-army’ that had been misusing his position to make illegal decisions.

“We want him removed. We are not giving the government any ultimatum.

“We have decided to withdraw our service until he is removed from office totally,” Mr Lasisi reiterated.

Responding on behalf of the lawmakers, the leader of the House, Honourable Timothy Owoeye, ‎urged the aggrieved protesters to draw up their position papers and forward same to the House for further investigation.

Timothy-Owoeye
Leader of the Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Timothy Owoeye says the House will consider the demands of the protesters

He said: “We have been on this matter for the past seven months.

“The House of Assembly has been discussing how to resolve the issues of disengagement of workers in all our tertiary institutions across the state.

“As you know, the resolution is presently before the Executive Arm of Government for their perusal and to know what to do.

“I want to assure you to continue to follow the path of honour as you have done now.”

“We have listened to you. You‎ have tendered your own position. Before we can mediate, we have to call the other party involved.

“Let us have your position paper. We are on the same page. Whatever you bring to the House of Assembly will be given due consideration. Believe in us to get your matter resolved”.

The leader of the House further assured the protesters that the Speaker would form an ad-hoc committee to look into the matter for peace to reign.

“This is the beauty of democracy. I only urge us to be law abiding to avoid chaos in the state,” he cautioned.

After the leader of the House’s address, the workers also moved on to the secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) along Osogbo-Gbogan Road, where they were received by the secretary of the party, Honourable Razak Salinsile, who also assured them of taking their case before the appropriate authority for the required solution.

Ekiadolor College Students Protest

EkiadolorMotorists were, on Wednesday, subjected to a harrowing experience on the Sagamu-Benin Expressway, following a protest by students of the College of Education, Ekiadolor, which resulted in a gridlock that lasted for hours.

The students, who were venting frustration over the industrial action embarked upon by their lecturers and the State Government’s seeming indifference to the lecturers’ demand, barricaded the‎ expressway at the Ekiadolor axis.

The students, who also complained about what they described as the poor state of their school ‎infrastructure, had vowed to keep the roads closed till their demands were met.

All efforts by motorists, including a prominent Benin chief, Gabriel Igbinedion, who was on his way to Ibadan, to placate them were rebuffed by the students.

However, the situation turned violent shortly after a detachment of soldiers arrived at the scene and chased away the students, who then withdrew to their campus and started to destroy facilities in the school.

Channels Television correspondent, who has been monitoring the situation, says the gates to the school have been blocked by the students as the protest continues.

College Of Education Lecturers Suspend Strike For 3 Months

COEASU suspend strikeLecturers under the auspices of the Colleges Of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) have suspended their strike for three months.

The President of the union, Mr Emmanuel Asagha, told journalists in Abuja after a meeting with the Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, that the decision to suspend the strike was to give the new minister time to look into their demands.

”The strike will be suspended for a period of three months as it is being emphasized that the issues will be resolved in the shortest possible time and we cannot just call off the strike”, Mr Asagba said.

”We believe a period of three months is reasonable enough for the Government to prove their mettle in addressing the key issues; hence students will resume on Monday”, he concluded.

The Minister of Education and former Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, assured the union that Government would take practical steps to address their needs.

”We have assured them that we will facilitate and fast track all the process of reaching out to all other agencies involved in resolving the issues” Shekarau said.

The lecturers, who have being on strike, joined their polytechnic counterparts in suspending their strike for three months and seven days to ensure that the Government do the needful in addressing their demands.

Polytechnic And University Graduates Should Be On Par — Student Leaders

ASUP COEASUThe Student Union Government Presidents of two Lagos based polytechnics, YABATECH and LASPOTECH, Babajide Salvado and Abdulkareem Yusuf, have explained why the students are in support of the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).

The student leaders were guests on Channels Television youth programme, Rubbin’ Minds, where they explained that majority of the points for which their lecturers are agitating affect the students directly.

Mr Salvado of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) decried the imbalance in the manner in which the Nigerian Government and the media gave more attention to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) during their 5-month strike in 2013, failing to give same to the Polytechnic lecturers since their struggles started in January 2014.

He also laid emphasis on the bureaucratic bottlenecks that had bedevilled the growth and development of polytechnic education for many years.

He noted that the students belief that the Polytechnic lecturers’ demands were genuine. Although he admitted that emphasis had been laid on the lecturers’ monetary demands as it concerns the payment of their arrears.

The dichotomy between the Polytechnics and the universities also came to the fore as the students insisted that there should be no reason for graduates from polytechnics and colleges of education to be treated as inferior to their counterparts from the universities.

There had been arguments in many quarters that the entry requirements of students into the universities have always been higher than what obtains in the other institutions with lower cut-off marks and as such their products could not be at par.

The student leaders unanimously condemned the view. Yusuf claimed that many Polytechnic students scored as high as the university cut-off marks and still were not offered admission into a university due to factors beyond them. Citing his school, the Lagos State Polytechnic as example, he noted that Nigerian polytechnics can boast of many intelligent products who would comfortably compete with university graduates.

Salvado also added that the students were ready to have the cut-off mark for all tertiary institutions set at parity if the discrepancies would be the basis for considering polytechnics as inferior to universities, as he was also sure that they had the technical edge in their competencies.

The Student Union Government President of the Federal College of Education, Akoka, Olusola Ogunnowo, whose lecturers under the aegis of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, have also been part of the industrial action, added that the reforms in the education sector have shown that being a teacher would no more be seen as an alternative career.

He revealed that many of his colleagues were in school not as a way out of having failed to make it into other institutions but as a form of fulfilment of their dreams to be teachers. He added that there were graduates of universities who were back in their schools in order to get certification for their dream to become lecturers, a process he claimed showed the seriousness and importance of the Colleges of Education.

The over 6 months old strike had been experiencing challenges with some schools in different parts of the country pulling out; a development that the student leaders condemned. They claimed that the disunity among the ASUP and COEASU was a product of selfishness and pursuit of personal interests.

Salvado also had tough words for the national leadership of the National Association Nigerian Students (NANS) for having failed to make a statement in solidarity with the plight of the students and their lecturers in the polytechnics and colleges of education.

He noted that the President of the NANS had been at the National Conference supposedly to represent the youth and there has been no mention of how to develop Nigerian education since the conference started.

They called on the Nigerian Government to change its attitude towards education, especially the polytechnics and colleges of education.

ASUP/COEASU Protest: Police Disperse Protesting Lecturers

PoliceThe Nigeria Police on Tuesday dislodged members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union who embarked on a peaceful protest in Abuja to press home their demand.

The lecturers, who gathered in front of the federal secretariat, were dispersed by gun-wielding policemen who later fired teargas at them for defying their instruction not to move beyond the premises of the federal secretariat.

The Minister of Labour, Mr Emeka Wogu, who addressed the lecturers before they were dispersed, promised to address the issues raised by the lecturers who have been on strike for ten months.

At a joint news conference in Abuja on Sunday, the unions had insisted that they will hold the protest on Tuesday.

The National President of the ASUP, Dr Chibuzor Asomugha and the Abuja chapter chairman of COEASU, Dr Ahymed Lawal, criticised the Federal Government’s refusal to implement agreements reached with the unions in order to suspend the indefinite strike.

They had appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to among other demands, address issues of funding, infrastructural development, dichotomy between polytechnic and university graduates and the harmonisation of working conditions for all lecturers in tertiary institutions.

They have been pushing this demands since April last year.

The Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, had in a meeting in February with the union, accused it of thwarting government’s efforts at resolving the strike.

The government later set up another committee, headed by the Minister of Labour, Mr Emeka Wogu, and was yet to convince the striking lecturers.

ASUP had in April 22, 2013 embarked on a seven-day warning strike to push their demands and since then, they have refused to call-off the strike until pending issues had been resolved.

ASUP, COEASU Plans Protest On Tuesday 

Poly-Students-ProtestThere appears to be no end in sight for students of polytechnics and colleges of education to return to school as the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) announced plans to embark on a peaceful protest in Abuja on Tuesday.

At a joint news conference in Abuja on Sunday, the National President of the ASUP, Dr Chibuzor Asomugha and the Abuja chapter chairman of COEASU, Dr Ahymed Lawal, criticised the Federal Government’s refusal to implement agreements reached with the unions in order to suspend the indefinite strike.

The unions appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to among other demands, address issues of funding, infrastructural development, dichotomy between polytechnic and university graduates and the harmonisation of working conditions for all lecturers in tertiary institutions.

They have been pushing this demands since April last year.

The Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, had in a meeting in February with the union, accused it of thwarting government’s efforts at resolving the strike.

The government later set up another committee, headed by the Minister of Labour, Mr Emeka Wogu, and was yet to convince the striking lecturers.

ASUP had in April 22, 2013 embarked on a seven-day warning strike to push their demands and since then, they have refused to call-off the strike until pending issues had been resolved.

College Of Education Lecturers Threaten To Resume Strike

The National Association of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, has threatened to resume its nationwide strike action if the Federal Government fails to honour the agreement reached with the body in December 2013.

The President of the union, Mister Asagha Nkoro, said that the body insists on the implementation of the agreement on the migration of lower cadre to the same salary scale with the general cadre.

Another demand is the 2012 visitation white paper report which dealt with most lingering labour issues within the body.

The union is also seeking the approval of autonomous degree status for the colleges of education, certified competent by the National Universities Commission, NUC, among other demands.