Support The Strike! Don't Break it!
For a Joint Struggle of Education Workers and Students
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) calls on polytechnic students and parents across the country to support the on-going strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP). We must not be divided by government's propaganda. The demands of the unions are genuine.
The strike became inevitable when government consistently refused to implement agreements reached with the unions years ago. Besides, the unions embarked on the full strike after the government had contemptuously ignored their 21-day ultimatum and one-week warning strikes. Therefore, it is the government that should be blamed for this strike and the consequent disruption of academic calendar. We call on the government to immediately meet the demands of the striking polytechnic unions so that the campuses can be re-opened for normal activities.
The ERC believes members of ASUP and SSANIP deserve a more dignifying condition of service and improved pay package. However this on-going strike is not about improved salary alone. It is also for improvement in Nigeria's education sector most especially polytechnic education that has been relegated to a second-class status. This why the two unions put forward the demand for establishment of National Commission of Polytechnics (NPC)) basically to monitor the affairs of polytechnic education as against the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) which does not give sufficient attention to issues of funding, facilities, standard and quality of polytechnic education.
We of the ERC call on Nigerian students to give concrete support to ASUP and SSANIP. Our support must not only be verbal; practical actions like mass mobilizations, rallies, protests and demonstrations of students are needed to pile pressure on the government to meet the unions' demands so that academic activities can resume.
Fortunately, the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) has threatened to call out students on protest nationwide. We call on the NAPS to give concrete expression to this threat by beginning immediate mobilization activities like rallies, symposium and protests in all polytechnic campuses across the country. If NAPS can take these steps, it would not be long to force the government to meet the unions' demands. Also the independent participation of NAPS in the strike will also provide opportunity for students to vigorously place their own demands on fee hike, under funding, attacks on independent unionism etc on the front burner such that government would be compelled to grant concessions.
We call on ASUP and SSANIP not to make this strike merely a "sit-at-action". Instead the ERC urge ASUP and SSANIP to mobilize their members, students, parents and public for joint public activities like congresses, rallies, protests and demonstrations. This to us is the best way to give publicity to the cause the union is fighting for and also to win supports of students and parents whose rights to quality education this strike is meant to defend.
Nigeria is rich in both natural and human resources but unfortunately we are under a capitalist system whose ultimate aim is profit making, and not people's needs. This is why despite the huge oil wealth the country is endowed with, our public education system is in decrepit conditions. We must not fold our hands while these capitalist ruling elite continue to ruin our future. Students have to begin to unite with education workers and fight back until all demands are met.
GREAT NIGERIAN POLYTECHNIC STUDENTS!
Are You Tired Of Staying At Home Due To On-going Strike?
IF YES, COME OUT ENMASSE ON MAY 29 FOR PROTEST RALLIES TO COMPEL GOVERNMENT TO MEET ASUP AND SSANIP DEMANDS SO THAT NORMAL ACTIVITIES CAN RESUME
MAY 29 “DAY OF ACTION” CARDINAL DEMANDS:
1. Full implementation of CONTISS 15 and CONPCASS 15 across board.
2 The review of polytechnic Act to remove the disparity between Higher National Diploma Graduates and Bachelor Degree.
3 The establishment of National Polytechnic Commission (NPC).
4 Genuine autonomy and democracy in Polytechnic and the education system as a whole
5. Improved funding of education to 26% of the Nation's budget in line with UNESCO recommendation.
6. Democratic running of Polytechnics through the involvement of elected representatives of staffs and students in all the decision-making bodies of each polytechnic.
7. End to culture of victimization. Recall all victimized workers and student activists. Unban all proscribed unions.