By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja, Oct. 6, 2020 The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics(SSANIP), has called on the Federal Government to resolve lingering issues associated with Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
Mr Phillip Ogunsipe, National President of the association, made the call in a communique issued at the end of an emergency meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ogunsipe said that the counciI-in-session had observed disjointed implementation of salary payments in the Polytechnics since IPPIS commenced the payment in February.
According to him, some of the lingering issues associated with IPPIS include non-release of new minimum wage arrears and inconsistencies in the release of third party deductions.
“Others are non-payment of COVID-19 hazard allowance for health workers, high taxes on consolidated salary, delay in the release of 2018 and 2019 promotion arrears, among others.
“Against this backdrop, the council wishes to call on the relevant agencies of government to expedite actions toward resolving the highlighted challenges.
“Equally, the council wishes to frankly state that failure of the IPPIS to address these highlighted challenges within 21 days from the date of this communique will leave the union with no option than to review its stance on IPPIS,” he said.
He also said that the council had expressed its displeasure at the way and manner the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) had handled the issue of the Scheme of Service so far.
Ogunsipe said that the council, therefore, condemned the decision of the Board to review the same document without due consultation with relevant stakeholders.
“On the strength of this, the council resolved that an attempt to foist a Scheme of Service document on SSANIP without our input is unacceptable and may lead to industrial disharmony.
“The council wishes to specifically and frankly state that the failure of NBTE to address this issue within 21 days from the date of this communique would leave the Union with no other option than to declare industrial dispute,” he said.
He also said that the council had called for re-constitution of Governing Councils of the Federal Polytechnics in the country.
He said the council particularly observed that since the expiration of the tenure of the last Governing Councils for the Federal Polytechnics in May, the institutions had continued to function without the Governing Boards.
“In the understanding of the council, a Governing Board occupies a very strategic position in the running of the Polytechnic system. Therefore, the delay in the re-constitution of the Governing Councils is a challenge to the smooth running of the Polytechnics.
“In view of the above, the council wishes to call on the Federal Government to expedite action on the re-constitution of Governing Councils for the Federal Polytechnics,” he said.
The association president also said that the council-in-session noted with dismay the nonchalant attitude of the government toward continuing with the renegotiation of the 2010 Agreement which was long overdue.
According to him, the counciI-in-session frowned at the inadequacy and delay in the release of over-head costs to Federal Polytechnics by the Federal Government.
“In similar vein, the council observed that this short-coming has the potential of impairing the day-to-day running of these institutions.
“The council, therefore, wishes to impress it upon the relevant agencies of government to ensure that the running costs are adequate and promptly released to these institutions.”
Ogunsipe also said that the counciI-in-session expressed worry at the plethora of challenges faced by the state-owned Polytechnics and similar institutions across the country.
He listed some of the issues to include hazard and part-payment of workers’ salaries, non implementation of the new minimum wage and non-domestication of the contributory Pension Scheme.
Others included the non-implementation of the 65 years retirement age in line with the relevant provisions of the Polytechnic Act (as amended), the migration to CONTISS 15, among others.
He said the council therefore called on state governments to ensure that the issues were adequately addressed in the spirit of industrial harmony.
Ogunsipe said that the council-in-session frowned at the forceful retirement of the Acting Registrar of the Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe, Bayelsa State, by the management of the institution.
He added that the council noted that the action was against the agreement reached with the Federal Ministry of Education, NBTE, Governing Council, the Polytechnic Management and SSANIP.
“In the well-considered opinion of the council, the forceful retirement of Mr Abadani Woyingikuro was against the provisions of the relevant documents guiding the operation of the Polytechnic system in Nigeria.
“The council, therefore, resolved that the management of the Polytechnic should revert to the earlier agreement reached on the matter without further delay.
“If this is not done, SSANIP will not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the institution,” he warned.