By Akon Etumukwa
The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has announced the suspension of its two-month old strike action.
National President of COEASU, Comrade Nuhu Ogirima, made the announcement in Abuja following a decision by an expanded national executive council meeting of the union to call off the industrial action on Wednesday.
Ogrima noted that the suspension became necessary following reassurances from government to meet some of the workers’ key demands, adding that the call-off would enable government to implement the agreements.
He however said the national executive council of the union will reconvene in January to re-assess government’s commitment and will not hesitate to resume strike if government reneges from the agreement reached.
Recall that the union said last week it had reached the final stage of negotiations with the federal government to resolve contentious issues, adding that it could review its position over the industrial action this week.
Ogrima had said “As we speak, a lot of these issues that we have in contention with government are being addressed; we are glad to tell you that the steps taken by government are being followed up and we have seen the extent of the commitment and we believe that there is need to convene an expanded national executive council meeting to present the position of government and then the status of all those issues that we have in contention.
According to him, issues raised by the union include funding and infrastructures which are supposed to be addressed by the needs assessment which report was reviewed in 2007 and submitted to government.
“The other issue has to do with the renegotiation that is ongoing, and there are lots of issues on that renegotiation that bother on students. We are looking at the possibility of having the students’ welfare addressed.
“We also have the issue of outsource services and then the issue of the welfare of staff. We have the issue of salaries, issue of allowances; we also have the issue of administration and management of the institutions,” he said.
After the expanded executive meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, the union leader said government admitted that there was decay of infrastructure in colleges of education and has agreed to implement the ‘NEEDS’ assessment report.
Ogirima also noted that the federal government has agreed to release a white paper tagged “dual mode’ to partially implement dual mode system in some colleges to award both degrees and NCE.