Nigeria Labour Congress on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to respond to the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union.
The Polytechnic lecturers have been on strike since October 2013, while their counterparts in the colleges of education have also been on an industrial action since December 2013.
In a statement in Abuja, the NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, said it was saddening that government could no longer honour agreement it voluntarily entered into.
Omar said, “Government’s serial breach of agreements with the unions, especially in the education sector, has had a telling effect on the well-being of the economy generally and education in particular.
“It is saddening that government is fast acquiring for itself a reputation of a partner that cannot be trusted to keep agreements it voluntarily entered into.
“Yet, government cannot afford an image which inspires no confidence in the citizenry or the unions.”
ASUP had rejected that its CONTISS 15-month salary arrears be paid in two installments.
It also faulted the position of the Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, that only four of the 13 demands of the lectures were open to negotiation.
The NLC said it was irresponsible of Wike to take a hardline position and refused to move the negotiations forward with ASUP to allow for mutual agreement.
Omar said, “The same arrogance and insensitivity has also characterised the minister’s negotiations with COEASU, whose demands are also based on not honouring Agreement by the Federal Government.
“Congress is concerned that the prolonged strike has led to the disruption of the academic calendar, truancy and vices among students as well as threatened the health of education in the sub-sector. These negativities are seldom good for the quality of our education or the image of the country.
“All normal societies are governed by sets of laws and agreements and Nigeria should not be an exception. Impunity breeds counter impunity and is certainly a roller coaster to anarchy.”