Threatens industrial action over N30,000 minimum wage, salary arrears, others
We’re working to meet their demands — Govt
By Emem Idio – Yenagoa
Barring any last-minute intervention by the Bayelsa State Government and Local Governments Councils in the State, primary school teachers under the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, has resolved that they would be left with no other option than to embark on industrial action after the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum to the governments to resolve lingering issues with the Union.
The fourteen days ultimatum which was issued on January 13, was learnt will expire on Thursday, January 28.
The Union regretted that the series of meetings with representatives of the state and local governments held last year over the lingering and protracted issues of non-payment and implementation of N30,000 minimum wage, promotions and salary arrears owed primary school teachers, and other critical issues bothering on the welfare of teachers and public education in the state have not yielded any fruits.
In a communique issued at an emergency State Wing Executive Council, SWEC, Meeting in Yenagoa, the Union expressed their disappointment over governments’ disregard to the series of negotiations and resolutions reached with the leadership of the Union as to address the demands before December 2020.
The communique which was signed by the State Chairman of NUT Comrade Kalaama Tonpre and Secretary, Comrade Johnson Hector on behalf of the Union said: “SWEC expressed dismay over the dwindling pace of public primary education occasioned by the seeming inability of Local and State Governments to manage the following issues:
“Non-implementation of N30,000 minimum wage arrears for primary school teachers since December 2019 till date, non-implementation of promotions for primary school teachers since 2013 to date, non-implementation of Annual Increment for both primary and secondary school teachers due January 2021, non-payment of salary arrears owed primary school teachers in 2016/2017 ranging from three and a half months to seven and a half months, an acute shortage of teachers in both primary and secondary schools in Bayelsa State.
“In the light of the foregoing, SWEC-in-session resolved that an ultimatum of fourteen days from date be given to the Bayelsa State Government to fully implement the promotions and the N30,000 minimum wage to all primary school teachers and address other problems enumerated above.
“Should the problems mentioned above remain unresolved till the expiration of the fourteen days ultimatum, primary school teachers in the state would have no other option than to down tools.
“Without prejudice to the above resolution, the State Wing of the NUT is ever committed to work with the prosperity government to guarantee an enhance public school system through better conditions of service and quality education delivery but not until the teachers perish.”
However, in his reaction, the Commissioner of Education in the State, Mr. Gentle Emelah said despite the fact that primary school teachers are the responsibility of the local government councils, the state government was working to meet the agreements reached with the NUT and appealed to the Union to soft-pedal in their ultimatum to the government.
He said: “I am aware, we had a meeting with them late last year and we agreed on certain terms and I think the government is working on those terms as they were and one of those things is the issue of their promotion. You will agree with me that both the primary and secondary schools board, the SUBEB have orgainise promotion is on. Those are some of the agreements and conditions we reached.
“I am equally aware that concerning the primary school which is worst hit, there was an agreement we reached where local government councils are saving money because the local government is paying primary school teachers, it is not the responsibility of the state government, but the state government is augmenting and assisting them to see that the issue is resolved, and if the government is doing its own bits to make sure that the agreement we reached is fulfilled, I think they should soft pedal, and I believe that they will soft-pedal because all the things we agreed in that meeting we are doing it.”