The Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, has reopened as members of the institution’s chapter of the Non Academic Staff Union suspended their four week-old strike.
Speaking to newsmen after the union’s congress held on the institution’s campus, Chairman of the Union, Mr. Kalu Nwankwo, confirmed the decision to suspend the industrial action.
He said, “We decided to suspend the industrial action in order to allow the management to implement the agreement that we reached with them”.
Also, the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi, thanked the workers for their decision to return to work.
Okiyi said the Abia State Government had decided to review the plan presented by the management of the institution to ensure the sustainable payment of wages and the seamless operation of the polytechnic.
Calling for patience and support from the workers, he said, “The major challenge remains that the school’s current monthly wage bill of about N170m cannot be sustained by the internally generated revenue profile of the institution. The workers and management need to work together to evolve a sustainable solution that will ensure that the institution truly becomes autonomous as envisaged by the law setting it up.
“Abiapoly receives and autonomously uses school fees, grants and other revenues to run its operations. We expect the management and workers to rejig their operations to ensure that what they make can, at least, conveniently pay workers while Government supports with subventions”
Mr Okiyi warned those he described as opposition political actors, who he accused of using some workers in the institution to perpetuate the strike and all kinds of sabotage for political benefits, to stop meddling in the affairs of the institution and called on workers to resist politically motivated strikes while fighting for their rights.
“We have information on the activities of some political actors in the state who are using some labor leaders to frustrate the school management’s effort at ensuring an amicable and early solution to the industrial crises.
“Those involved should cease and desist immediately. It is unheard of that workers will embark on strike and then lock up the premises of their employer and take the keys home. Those workers who are willing to return to work should not be molested or stigmatized in any form by those sponsored and funded by politicians to cripple the institution.”
The Commissioner met with some workers and union leaders who resumed work on Monday and expressed the optimism that other unions in the school who are yet to hold congresses will do so in the coming days to ensure full resumption of academic activities.