ERC CALLS ON AREGBESOLA GOVERNMENT TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF LECTURERS IN THE STATE OWNED POLYTECHNICS
Education Rights Campaign (ERC)
Osun State Chapter
ERC CALLS ON AREGBESOLA GOVERNMENT TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF LECTURERS IN THE STATE OWNED POLYTECHNICS AND COLLEGES OF EDUCATION NOW!
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Osun State Chapter, hereby condemns the arrogance of the Osun State government towards the current strike of the academic staff of the state tertiary institutions. We call on the state government to immediately accede to the demands of the lecturers. We believe that workers have the right to seek for improvement in their living and working conditions, this is more so given that politicians in power continue extravagantly on public resources while public infrastructures continue to rot away.
The lecturers in the state owned tertiary institutions (Polytechnics and Colleges of Education), just like their colleagues nationally, had demanded the implementation of the COMPOCASS, which is a new national salary agreement for lecturers. The COMPOCASS is an improvement over the CONTISS which gives a 53 (fifty-three) percent increase on their salaries. Under a responsible government, this should not be too much to pay. Already, the lecturers in the state tertiary institutions are poorly paid. With rot in teaching and learning facilities in the tertiary education in the state, the government should have seen a link between the welfare of the lecturers and improvement in the standards.
But it is clear that the state government is not ready for a holistic development of education in the state, otherwise the Aregbesola government should not have maintained what is clearly a criminal silence on the two-month old strike. Rather than accede to the lecturers’ demands, the Aregbesola administration has been discrediting and repressing the workers and students. For instance, in a failed attempt to discredit their legitimate demands, the state government has been accusing the lecturers to be working for the opposition party. The government even went steps further by using the police to attack a legitimate protest of the lecturers some weeks ago. We demand an end to this kind of irresponsible and anti-democratic actions, which were the features of the past Oyinlola government, which the students and working people fiercely fought to the end.
The blame for the strike and the disruption of the academic calendar should be placed at the doorstep of the Aregbesola government which despite allocating billions to the education sector in the 2011 budget has refused to make any fundamental improvement in the state of education in the state. While the government proclaims free education in the state, primary and post-primary schools are still in their rotten state with lack of basic facilities and inadequate teaching hands, which has made even petty traders to send their wards to mushroom private schools, which are merely business centres. The so-called paltry school fee reduction in the state owned tertiary institutions has not reflected in improved funding for these institutions, thus making nonsense of the reduction as students have to pay for the use of the facilities.
It will be recalled that the attitude the Aregbesola government to the lecturers’ strike is similar to its attitude to the current struggle of the health workers in the state who have been on strike for over five months now, with the enormous consequence on the lives of the poor people in the state. Besides, there is a brewing industrial crisis in the primary and secondary education as the Aregbesola government has reneged on its agreement with workers in the state, by ordering the removal of Teachers’ Peculiar Allowance (which was won by teachers in 2009) from its so-called ‘minimum wage’. For a state government that has refused to make any fundamental improvement in the living conditions of the people in the state despite billions that have accrued to the purse of the state, at least payment of workers’ wages should not be a problem. But it seems the government has somewhere else it is spending the resources of the state on.
We in ERC reject the bankrupt approach to governance by the Aregbesola/ACN government, which is toeing the dangerous and ruinous path of the ousted Oyinlola/PDP government. We hereby demand immediate the following:
1. Immediate implementation of the agreements with lecturers and other education workers in the state owned tertiary institutions in the state.
2. Massive improvement in facilities in our schools from primary to tertiary levels in the state.
3. No to ‘bogus’ fee reduction; for free and quality education at all levels in the state.
4. No to removal of Teachers’ Peculiar Allowance. For full implementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage
5. Reduction of the salaries of political office holders to the levels of workers; and using the resources freed-up to provide the improvement in facilities in the education sector.
The ERC calls on education workers and students in the state to organize a series of mass action around the above demands.
ERC Osun State Coordinator
Abiola Shopping Complex
123 Station Road
Tel: 08031509489 or 08059399178.