The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, the umbrella body of lecturers in the nation’s Colleges of Education, has directed its members nationwide to go to work two days weekly until the Federal Government till the addresses the issues caused by the removal of subsidy which according to the union has caused untold hardship to its members.
The union in a press statement issued by its national president, Dr Sam Olugbeko noted that its members could no longer survive on the current minimum wage hence it has directed its members to only go to work twice weekly.
The statement reads, “The National leadership of our great Union in its extraordinary meeting held on Tuesday, 18th July 2023 had agreed to direct its members to go to work two days weekly until Federal Government yields to its demand of 200 percent increase in salary amidst the difficulty of members to get to work as a result of hike in the price of petrol.
“The implementation of the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government two months ago raised the price of a litre of petrol by 250%.
This worsened the inflationary rate on the cost of transportation, food, and other essential commodities and impoverished the Nigerian people. Workers, including staff of Colleges of Education, kept faith with the government and chose to endure the untold hardship thinking it would be only for a while as the government promised to roll out palliative measures including a significant increase in salaries. Alas! While our capabilities to sustain hope were already exhausted, the price of petrol rose further to N650 per litre. Now, the leadership of the Union has been inundated by members’ complaints that they could no longer go to work as a result of a hike in the price of petrol and the resultant high cost of transportation.
“Against this backdrop, it has become inevitable for the Union to direct members to go to work only two days weekly while an emergency NEC meeting shall be convened to ratify this decision and decide on the specific days of the week members are to go to work.
“The present salary of staff of Colleges of Education was approved in the year 2010 – 13 years ago! This means we have been on the same salary since 2010 while petrol prices rose intermittently from N65/N70 in 2010 to N650 in 2023 (tenfold increase). Our salary structure which is subject to renegotiation at 3-year intervals has remained static for 13 years, skipping four due renegotiations. It is ludicrous that the government has refused to return to the negotiation table on the welfare package for staff after the Union, prior to the removal of the fuel subsidy, had proposed a 200% increase in salary as against the government’s offer of a ridiculous 35% for Chief Lecturers and 23% for other cadres.”
Speaking on the way forward, the union called on the government to immediately seek lasting solutions to prevent crisis in colleges of education.
“We call on the FG to urgently do the needful because the inevitable action of the Union against this hardship will have devastating effects on the students as it will lead to a prolonged academic calendar – a semester of 16 weeks will become 32 weeks or more; while Teaching Practice exercise of 6 months will become 12 months.
“We call on His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to quickly address the issue of salary adjustment for staff of Colleges of Education. We believe in the capacity of the President to address this problem as he did when he was the Governor of Lagos State where he so generously increased the salaries of staff in the then Lagos State-owned Colleges of Education that they became the highest paid nationwide,” the union said.
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