In response to the economic hardship caused by the removal of petrol subsidy, the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has directed its members to limit their work to only two days a week. The union warned that if urgent measures were not taken to address the difficulties faced by its members, it could lead to prolonged academic calendars and negatively impact parents and students.
The decision to reduce workdays was reached at an extraordinary meeting held on Tuesday, July 18, according to a statement signed by the National President of COEASU, Dr. Smart Olugbeko. The union emphasized the need for a 200 per cent salary increase to alleviate the financial burden on its members.
The statement read: “The National leadership of our great union in its extraordinary meeting held on Tuesday, 18th July 2023 had agreed to direct its members to go to work two days weekly until the Federal Government yields to its demand of a 200 per cent increase in salary amidst the difficulty of members to get to work as a result of the hike in the price of petrol.
“The removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government two months ago raised the price of a liter of petrol by 250 per cent. This exacerbated the inflationary rate on the cost of transportation, food, and other essential commodities, leaving the Nigerian people impoverished.”
COEASU expressed disappointment that despite enduring untold hardship and hoping for government palliative measures, the situation only worsened as petrol prices further increased to N650 per liter.
The union called attention to the fact that staff salaries in colleges of education have remained unchanged since 2010, while petrol prices skyrocketed tenfold during the same period. The salary structure, subject to renegotiation every three years, has been static for 13 years, skipping four due renegotiations.
To address these issues, COEASU urged the government to act swiftly and implement the requested salary increase to alleviate the financial strain on its members and enable them to work more effectively. The union stated that an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting would be convened to ratify the decision and determine the specific days of the week when members are expected to work.
As the situation unfolds, both COEASU and the government are closely monitoring the impact of the decision and the urgent need for a resolution to mitigate the effects of the petrol price hike on educators and the education system.