This is certainly a palatable news to all students of the colleges of education as indication emerged yesterday, that the striking members of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) may suspend their nine-month strike next Tuesday, 15th July, 2014 following a planned intervention by the Joint Governing Boards of Colleges of Education.
The Chairman, Governing Boards of Colleges of Education, Senator Emmanuel Anosike, while speaking with schoolwatch.com.ng grapevine in Abuja yesterday said members of the boards had taken it upon themselves to act as intermediaries between the union and the government to resolve the strike.
He disclosed that a meeting would hold between members of the boards, the union, representatives of the government and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), next Tuesday at 11a.m.
“The members of the boards would take it upon themselves to ensure that whatever resolutions are reached, are implemented by government,” he said.
“The meeting would discuss all the grey areas, present the report to the minister, hold a press briefing after wards and COEASU would call off the strike hopefully. If we decide to wait and follow the pattern the ministry is using, there is the tendency that we will wait a bit longer before the strike is called off,” Anosike said.
“We have a law that says that if you do not work, you will not be paid. The government implemented it, but has said if they suspend the strike and return to the classroom, the arrears would be paid. The Minister of Education has been saying that,” Anosike said.
He also clarified that the union was concerned about the non-victimisation of its member for having participated in the nine-month strike.
Anosike gave further details into why the strike had lingered.
“One basic problem is that after the government had given its approval on the issue of migration for polytechnics and colleges of education, somehow, another letter from the ministry to the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) emanated on the same issue,” he said.
He explained that COEASU therefore requested for its own letter separately too, before it would consider suspending the strike.
“Our position is that the initial letter from President Jonathan supersedes any other letter and as such we should concentrate on the content of Mr. President’s letter so that we can move on,” he said.
Anosike emphasised that a holistic approach of ensuring equity and fairness in the tertiary sub-sector would be the only solution to the incessant strikes in the sector.
“Why should a Ph.D holder in a College of Education not work towards becoming a professor in spite of the degree of research he conducts. These politics do not make sense any longer and it is time we changed this colonial style,” he said.
The Chairman of COEASU, Mr. Asagha Okoro, when contacted by our grapevine, confirmed that the union was willing to suspend the strike in deference to the planned intervention by the chairmen of councils of (CoEs).
Speaking in a telephone conversation with schoolwatch.com.ng grapevine, Okoro also demanded the release of the White Paper of the Visitation Panel to the CoEs
“Let them sit down with us to discuss the migration issue which has been implemented in the polytechnics.
We would sit down, with the understanding of our chairmen and their intervention, we can just change and give in,” he said.
“Yes, as soon as that is done, negotiations would be ongoing, but let us at least get them to release the salaries that have been withheld and assure us that people are not going to be victimised for participating in the strike,” Okoro added.
The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, (COEASU) embarked on an indefinite strike to press home the implementation of their demands from the federal government since December 18, 2013.
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