COEASU Directs Lecturers to Work Two Days a Week in Response to Fuel Price Hike
Byline: Joseph Erunke, ABUJA
The College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has issued a directive for its members to limit their work to two days per week, in light of the government’s removal of fuel subsidies.
COEASU explained that its members have been experiencing significant hardship due to the government’s action, and they will only resume regular work schedules once the government meets their demand for a salary adjustment.
The decision, announced in a statement by COEASU National President Smart Olugbeko on July 18, 2023, was made during an extraordinary meeting of the union’s national leadership.
According to COEASU, the removal of fuel subsidies by the Federal Government two months ago resulted in a 250% increase in the price of petrol. This escalation has led to a rise in transportation costs, food prices, and other essential commodities, which has negatively impacted the livelihoods of the Nigerian people.
The statement further emphasized: “The national leadership of our esteemed union, in an extraordinary meeting held on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, has unanimously decided to direct our members to work two days a week until the Federal Government accedes to our demand for a 200% salary increase. This directive is in response to the challenges faced by our members in commuting to work due to the surge in petrol prices.”
“The removal of fuel subsidies by the Federal Government two months ago resulted in a 250% increase in the price of petrol. This escalation has worsened the inflationary rate and adversely affected the affordability of transportation, food, and other essential goods, plunging the Nigerian populace into further impoverishment.”
“Workers, including those employed in colleges of education, have patiently endured the hardship, expecting that it would be temporary, as the Government promised to implement palliative measures, including substantial salary increases. Unfortunately, while our hopes were already waning, the price of petrol surged even higher to N650 per litre.”
“In view of this, the Union has received numerous complaints from members regarding their inability to commute to work due to the exorbitant fuel prices and subsequent transportation costs. Therefore, the Union has found it necessary to direct members to work only two days a week until an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting can be convened to ratify this decision and determine the specific workdays.”
“The current salary structure for staff in Colleges of Education was approved in 2010, which means we have been on the same salary for the past 13 years. Meanwhile, the price of petrol has increased from N65/N70 in 2010 to N650 in 2023 (a tenfold increase). Our salary structure, subject to renegotiation every three years, has remained stagnant for 13 years, disregarding four scheduled renegotiations. It is absurd that the Government has refused to engage in negotiations regarding the welfare package for staff, especially after the Union proposed a 200% salary increase, in contrast to the Government’s offer of a meager 35% for Chief Lecturers and 23% for other positions.”
“We urgently call upon the Federal Government to take the necessary steps to address this matter, as the Union’s inevitable action in response to this hardship will have severe consequences for students, resulting in an extended academic calendar where a semester of 16 weeks may stretch to 32 weeks or more, and a Teaching Practice exercise of 6 months may extend to 12 months.”
“We also appeal to His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to promptly address the issue of salary adjustment for staff in Colleges of Education. We believe in the President’s ability to tackle this problem, as demonstrated during his tenure as Governor of Lagos State, where he generously increased the salaries of staff in Lagos State-owned Colleges of Education, making them the highest paid nationwide.”