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FCE Gombe lecturers insist on strike, unfazed by ‘threats’

From: Ali Abare, Gombe

Lecturers at the Federal College of Education (Technical) in Gombe State have said that they were not going back to work in spite of threats by the school’s management to invoke the a ‘no work, no pay’ policy in response to the indefinite strike action embarked upon by them.

Chapter chairman of the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Haruna Adamu Soye, disclosed this to journalists, in Gombe, on Monday.

Soye said COEASU said even if the management withhold their salaries, lecturers are the institution would remain on strike.

His words, “We are still on strike and the letter sent to us was to remind us of the no work no pay policy and even if it is so, this kind of circular are rejected by our national unions, therefore we are not abiding by that circular and unless this issue is resolved,” he said.

On the call for the sack of the provost and bursar, the COEASU chairman denied that the matter was ever discussed during the congress of the union.

Management of the institution on Sunday, issued a letter addressed to the union signed by Ibrahim Shehu, Director, Establishment and Council Affairs on behalf of the registrar of the college threatening to invoke the no work no pay policy should the lecturers sustain their strike action.

Describing the strike action embarked by lecturers at the college as uncalled for, the management warned that it has no option but to apply the policy in line with directives by the federal government.

The management accused the lecturers of insensitivity to its constraints, especially with the prevailing financial situation  in the country.

Recounting the genesis of the issue, Shehu explained that the crisis leading to the indefinite strike began shortly after the present executive of COEASU were inaugurated in April this year.

He said that precisely on April 19, 2017, the union approached the college management with some demands which include the issue of salary shortfalls from February to date, outstanding payment of Peculiar Academic Allowance (PAA) arrears and inclusion of same in their monthly salaries among others.

“The college management informed COEASU that the college finances cannot accommodate their demands at the moment. However, one month PPA and 25 percent of the Conference Attendance Allowance (CAA) were paid to the academic staff. It was agreed that when the federal government releases the funds for 2015 promotion arrears and salary shortfalls, these would be paid without delay,” the statement added.

Shehu added that barely a month after, fCOEASU wrote the management requesting for the payment of the balance of 50 percent of the CAA, PAA as well as the shortfalls in salaries and 2015 promotion arrears.

He said to that end, the college management set up a committee to negotiate with COEASU but could not reach conclusive agreement as the lecturers insisted that they must be paid the balance of the PAA and at least one month of the CAA despite the financial constraint faced by the college.

The statement further explained that the college governing council, in its inaugural meeting held on June 20, 2017, met with COEASU and made an offer to pay 25 percent of the CAA for 2016/2017 session.

“COEASU decided to embark on three days warning strike beginning from Wednesday, July 5, to Friday, July 7. On the expiration of the 3 days warning strike, COEASU declared an indefinite strike with effect from Tuesday, July 11, 2017,” it said.

Reacting to news report suggesting that lecturers at the college are demanding for the sack of the provost and bursar, Shehu in the statement, said the matter was never discussed at any time with COEASU either at council, management or COEASU congress.

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