Education Rights Campaign (ERC)
Osun State Chapter
State Address: Suite 34/35, Abiola Shopping Complex, 123 Station Road, Osogbo, Tel: 08031509489, 08059399178.
National Secretariat: 162 Ipaja Road, Agbotikuyo Bus Stop, Agege, Lagos, Tel: 07033697259, 08098284000
Date: 28th September, 2011
ERC DEMAND THAT AREGBESOLA GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENT THE SALARY INCREASE FOR LECTURERS IN THE STATE OWNED POLYTECHNICS AND COLLEGES OF EDUCATION NOW!
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Osun State Chapter hereby condemns the carefree attitude of the Osun State government to 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; otherwise, we will have to choice than to mobilize the students and youths, whose future the Aregbesola government want to destroy with its attitude to education in the state, out in massive protest against the government. We believe that workers have right to seek for improvement in their living and working conditions, more so 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, other wise 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 has been blackmailing and repressing the workers and the students. For instance, the lecturers were blackmailed to be working for the opposition party as if it is the opposition party that will collect the wage increment. Students were also blackmailed to have been bought over by opposition party. Maybe if government had done the right thing by paying the lecturers their entitlement, such insinuations would not have been necessary. The government event 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 turned, which were the features of the past Oyinlola government, which the students and working people fiercely fought to the end.
The blame of the strike and the destruction of the education 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 happy-go-lucky attitude the Aregbesola government is giving to the lecturers’ strike is similar to its attitude to the current strike 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. As we are writing this piece, there is a brewing industrial crisis in the primary and secondary education as the Aregbesola government has reneged in 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/CAN government, which is toeing the dangerous and ruinous path of the ousted Oyinlola/PDP government. We hereby demand immediate the following:
- 1. Immediate concession to the demands of the lecturers in the state owned tertiary institutions in the state.
- 2. Massive improvement in infrastructures and 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 across board.
- 5. Reduction of the salaries of political office holders to the levels of workers; and usage of the windfall for the improvement in facilities in the education sector.
The ERC call on students and education workers in the state to organize mass action to force the Aregbesola to implement its statutory responsibility of which adequate and living wages for workers is one. We in the ERC are ready to mobilize the rank and file of students (from primary to tertiary levels) and workers out to defend our rights to free and quality education at all level, and hitch free academic calendar.