Polytechnic Lecturers Threaten Strike Over N35,000 Wage Award

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has asked the federal government to pay its members the N35,000 wage award approved for public sector workers to avoid industrial action.

President of ASUP, Shammah Kpanja said polytechnic lecturers “are angry and agitating due to economic hardship.”

Comrade Kpanja lamented that government has only paid the N35,000 once despite saying the payment would run for six months.

The government approved the payment of N35,000 to public servants to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.

It commenced the payment in September last year with civil servants confirming the payment of the money to them.

Kpanja said: “Government has no reason for not paying that N35, 000 wage award, you know when this government came onboard , they introduced some economy policies, one is the removal of subsidy in the price of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS), and this brought about increase in prices of goods and services and this affected the condition of living of our members.

“With struggles from the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, and other stakeholders , the government agreed to pay as palliative the sum of N35. 000 as wage award for workers pending when the national Minimum wage will be implemented in March .

“The agreement was that the wage award will run for 6 months effective from September 2023, but as we speak , the government only paid in September and now is January 2024, yet the government is not saying anything despite the harsh economic situation . Right now people cannot pay transport to their places of work and the small palliative you promise to give them is not forthcoming.”

He also said the government was yet to implement the 35 and 25 per cent salary increase for tertiary institutions workers.

He said: “The last time the salary of academic staff in the Polytechnics was increase was in 2010 and from that time till now, inflation has eaten deep into what was approved then , the cost of living has gone high, consumer price index has gone high and we have started the re-negotiation of 2010 agreement , along the one, government stopped the agreement but later increased the salary of chief lecturers in the Polytechnics by 35 per cent while other staff salary was increased by 25 per cent and the increments was supposed to take effect from January 2023 .

“Now it is January 2024, yet the government has not implemented that and seriously we are embarrassed and angry with the government. If the government has issued a circular that your salary has been increased, the best thing for them to do is to commence implementation but one year after we still don’t know what is happening.”

The union leader appealed to the government to address the issues raised, saying: “So we want to inform the government that the tension is high in the sector because members are agitating so we are begging the government to do the needful before it gets out of hand.”

He added: “We have given the government enough time to do the needful because our members are agitating because the economy is biting harder. We are going to call our NEC meeting once this window we have given the government doesn’t yield any positive result.”

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