Colleges of Education lecturers under the platform of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) have given the Federal Government an indefinite strike notice if it fails to meet its demands within the next 21 days.
In a statement made available by National Vice President and Southwest Zonal Coordinator of COEASU, Olusegun Lana on Wednesday, the lecturers claimed the government has been indifferent toward the needs and issues affecting Colleges of Education despite their appeals.
Listing some of its issues, the union mentioned poor funding, the failure of the government to reconstitute its renegotiation team for the COEASU-FGN 2010 Agreement, the non-release of the N15 billion revitalisation fund as promised by the government, and the non-acceptance of UTAS as the payment platform for lecturers against the current IPPIS among others
“While the long-anticipated renegotiation of COEASU-FGN 2010 Agreement holds enormous promise for mutual resolution of several challenges bedevilling the COE system, the FG has failed to accord the exercise deserved priority.
"Ridiculously, the FG has refused to constitute her own renegotiation team after acknowledging receipt of our Union’s team list on her own request for over two months now.
“The government has refused to accede to our demand for the fulfillment of her own pledge of N15 billion revitalisation fund.
"Apart from being a far cry from N478 billion being the outcome of the 2014 Presidential Needs Assessment across public COEs, the delay in its release has made nonsense of the value due to inflation.
”More ludicrously, media reports quoted the Honourable Minister for Education as having said, on various public occasions, that the palliative fund had been released by the FG, whereas what we received was a call to propose modalities for the disbursement.
"The frustrating wait for the disbursement of this fund has continued ever thereafter.
“Poor funding of Colleges of Education and poor conditions across state-owned COEs In spite of our agitations and the government’s persistent promise of redress, both Federal and State COEs remain poorly funded.
“Reign of impunity, statutory breach and administrative aberration persists; our members, especially in state COEs, continue to suffer untold hardships through non-payment of salary and salary arrears, refusal to implement the statutory salary structure in full, extraneous promotion criteria, idiosyncratic policies, non/improper domestication of 65-year retirement age for workers in the COE system; multiple promotions without financial effects, repression of union activities, to mention just a few.
“Many Colleges find it difficult to run smoothly due to non-release of running cost by Government.
"Many State Governments have abdicated their responsibility as proprietors to TETFund, as the only projects you see in the Colleges are TETFund projects.
“The Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) is causing more havoc to tertiary institutions than good.
"Up till the end of March 2022, one thousand two hundred and nineteen (1,219) lecturers in COEs are experiencing one problem or the other with IPPIS.
“COEASU has demanded 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 superior to IPPIS as it has the capacity to address our payroll security concerns and the peculiarities of tertiary institutions.
"It is therefore ludicrous that FG has remained adamant on retaining IPPIS despite its injurious effects," the statement reads.
COEASU encouraged stakeholders to ensure the government to what is expected of it before the deadline, hence the union declares a strike.
“After extensive deliberations on the outcome of the referendum conducted across Chapters of the Union, NEC resolved to issue Government a 21-day ultimatum immediately.
"NEC further resolved that in the unexpected event that government fails to do the needful within the period of the ultimatum, the union shall declare appropriate industrial action,” the statement added.