MEMBERS of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) have received directive from their national secretariat to work for only two days a week pending a concession by the federal government to effect a 200% pay rise.
Comrade Smart Olugbeko, COEASU National President, revealed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday. He stated that the decision was made during the union’s emergency meeting on Tuesday against the backdrop of mobility challenges being faced by members in going to and from their places of work due to the increase in the price of petrol.
According to Comrade Olugbeko, the removal of subsidy on petrol has escalated the price of petrol and by implication the cost of transportation and other essential commodities.
“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 government and chose to endure the untold hardship thinking it would be only for a while as government promised to roll out palliative measures.
“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 hike in the price of petrol and resultant high cost of transportation,” Olugbeko said, asserting that this has force the union to take a temporary measure by directing members to work only two days each week.
He added that an emergency NEC meeting will be called to ratify the decision to select which days of the week members would work.
“The present salary of staff of colleges of education was approved in 2010, 13 years ago.
“This means we have been on the same salary since 2010 while petrol price rose intermittently from N65/N70 in 2010 to N650 in 2023 (a tenfold increase).
“Our salary structure which is subject to renegotiation at three-year intervals has remained static for 13 years, skipping four due renegotiations.
“We call on the federal government 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 six months will become 12 months,” he said.
He also called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to quickly address the issue of salary adjustment for staff of colleges of education. NAN