By Chinelo Nwangene
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has threatened a showdown with the federal government over President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent declaration that his government would no longer pay any worker not captured on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as from October 31.
The polytechnic teachers say it would resist forceful enrolment of its members on the IPPIS until federal government changes the present template and as well, produce a written document to reflect it. ASUP national president, Usaman Yusuf Dutse, who made the position of the union known during the opening ceremony of the 96th ASUP national executive council meeting at the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra state, insisted that they will stop at nothing to protect their salary before her members would be enrolled, IPPIS
Dutse wondered why federal government should issue such threat while it is yet to address most of the issues reached with the union since 2017.
“I believe you are aware of the issue of IPPIS that there is a threat by the government that by the end of October, if we did not enroll, there will be no salary.
“In as much as an employer can decide how he pays his workers, it is the responsibility of the worker to protect his remuneration, his income. It is our responsibility to decide our income so that our earnings can be protected.”
Orient Weekend recalls that the IPPIS was conceptualised in October 2006, by the federal government as one of its reform programmes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the storage of personnel records and administration of monthly payroll to enhance confidence in staff emolument costs and budgeting.
According to the ASUP boss, “for about 8 years, we have been having series of engagements with the government on how to enroll us. We resisted because of some observations we think that needs to be addressed. In the series of meetings we had with government, we made several proposals on how to address the issues, but for one reason or the other, they have failed to do that and they want to enroll us into IPPIS.
“We are not against it but we believe that if we can sit down and resolve our differences today, we will not hesitate to enroll. The last meeting we had with them, a technical committee was formed, they made request for some documents which we have provided and they promised to call us back which they have not done till today only for us to start hearing threat from them.
“There are also some other lingering issues which are part of the MoU we signed with the government in 2017, which are yet to be addressed. These are issues of needs assessment, CONTISS 15 and renegotiation, victimisation of our members and non-payment of salaries in some institutions. We are not antagonists or rivals to the government but partners in progress”, he added.
Dutse further disclosed that the union was still awaiting the full implementation of the new Polytechnic Act signed into law last June by President Buhari. We are happy that Federal Polytechnic, Oko and few others have started implementing the act but there are more other issues that need to be implemented so that decisions taken in the institutions will be legal”, he stressed.
“I am happy the new rector has established cordial relationship and good working relationship with the unions. For now, there is industrial harmony in the school, and we hope and pray that this harmony will be sustained. She is one of us and IGR rector and no wonder she is doing very well. That has been part of our agitations. She is part of the system”, he said.
The rector, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Engr. Dr. Francisca Nwafulugo, before declaring the meeting open, expressed hopes that the meeting would afford them the opportunity to address the myriads of challenges confronting polytechnics in Nigeria.
“It is our expectation that your deliberation will cover key areas of benefit to your members and institutions as well as the issues around productivity, greater application of technology and discipline, a robust communication mechanism between the union and the management in the various polytechnics, healthier lecturer/ student relationship among many other issues”, she said.
The chapter chairman of ASUP, Comrade Samuel Igbokwe, in his opening address, noted that the NEC meeting of the union had presented another medium to engage on issues of concern to the welfare of members, the upliftment of the polytechnic sector and the development of the nation. He lauded the management of the polytechnic for the efforts to turn the institution for better, especially for the rector’s friendly disposition to address union matters and welfare of the staff.