The Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, has reopened as members of the Non academic staff union (NASU) in the state owned institution, suspended their four weeks old industrial action after a congress of the union held in the school premises.
Speaking to newsmen after the union’s congress, Chairman of the Union, Mr. Kalu Nwankwo, confirmed the decision of congress to suspend the industrial action.
His words: “We decided to suspend the industrial action to allow management implement the agreement we reached with them”.
Also speaking, the Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, thanked the workers for their decision to return to work.
According to him, “We appreciate the decision of the workers to put the students and the state first. As a government, we will ensure that the agreement reached between the union and the management of the institution is fully respected and implemented”
Continuing, Chief Okiyi stated that the government is currently reviewing the plan presented by the management of the institution to ensure sustainable payment of wages and seamless operation of the Polytechnic and called for patience and support by workers.
“The major challenge remains that the school’s current monthly wage bill of about N170m cannot be sustained by the internally generated revenue profile of the institution, hence, the workers and management need to work together to evolve a sustainable solution that will ensure that the institution truly becomes autonomous as envisaged by the law setting it up.
“Abiapoly receives and autonomously use school fees, grants and other revenues to run its operations. We expect the management and workers to rejig their operations to ensure that what they make can, at least, conveniently pay workers while Government supports with subventions”
Mr Okiyi warned those he described as opposition political actors who he accused of using some workers in the institution to perpetuate the strike and all kinds of sabotage for political benefits to stop meddling in the affairs of the institution and called on workers to resist politically motivated strikes while fighting for their rights.
“We have information on the activities of some political actors in the state who are using some labor leaders to frustrate the school management’s effort at ensuring an amicable and early solution to the industrial crises. Those involved should cease and desist immediately. It is unheard of that workers will embark on strike and then lock up the premises of their employer and take the keys home. Those workers who are willing to return to work should not be molested or stigmatized in any form by those sponsored and funded by politicians to cripple the institution.”
The Commissioner who met with some workers and union leaders that resumed work today, expressed optimism that other unions in the school who are yet to hold congresses will do so in the coming days to ensure full resumption of academic activities.