CoE Lecturers Fault Exclusion From 40% Pay Rise
By Lateef Taiwo
The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has faulted the exclusion of its members to the 40% increase in the salary of civil servants by the federal government.
A statement signed by COEASU President, Dr. Smart Odunayo Olugbeko on Wednesday stated that the Union while being happy that Civil Servants who are the drivers of government policies have been considered for salary increase, are appalled by the exclusion of the lecturers and other workers in the tertiary institutions even though the various unions in the sector have made several overtures to government on salary increase.
The statement added that federal government’s present action is an attempt to divide Nigerian workers and cause confusion within the system.
“The discriminatory increase is an attempt to promote divide and rule and make Nigerian workers unable to speak with one voice on the issues that affect their general welfare. Government, in granting the increase, explained that it was to enable civil servants cushion the effect of inflation and increase in the cost of living as if lecturers and other workers in the tertiary education sector are immune against inflation and geometrical rise in cost of living,” it said.
The implication is that what the lecturers were earning in 2010 is the same amount they still earn in 2023. There had been various efforts on the part of the Union to make government renegotiate the 2010 agreement that gave lecturers in Colleges of Education the current salary structure even though the agreement should have been renegotiated after three years.
“ The Federal government eventually acceded to the demand of the Union by inaugurating the FGN/COEASU Renegotiation Team in 2022 under the leadership of Professor Kabiru Ishyaku, a former Executive Secretary of National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE).
“The Union has reached understanding with the Federal Government Team on virtually all issues raised for renegotiation except salary increase which the Government Team claimed was still awaiting the response of government,”the statement added.
The statement noted that that salary increase is not a privilege or favour from government but a part of the rights workers enjoy and especially when such a salary structure is a product of an agreement that stipulates its expiry time; it is only by renegotiation that such salary should be increased.
“Salary increase for academic staff in tertiary institutions is not a donation from government. Rather it is a product of negotiation between government and the unions because of the peculiarity of the system in terms of job specifications that attract different allowances for different cadres of workers.
“The Union, therefore, calls on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency return to the renegotiation table to conclude the renegotiation which includes salary increase for academic staff in Colleges of Education,” the statement added.