Teachers in primary and secondary schools in all the 36 states of the federation including Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have threatened to down tools over refusal of some state governors to pay the 27.5 per cent teachers’ professional allowance with the new workers’ minimum wage as agreed upon.
This was made known in Ilorin, on Tuesday, by the National Executive Council, NEC, of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, at a three-day orientation workshop organized by the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, MNILS.
National President of the union, Comrade Michael Olukoya, said: “Many states had confused the issue of 27.5 per cent teachers allowance with implementation of the new minimum wage.
“There had been dialogue on the issue for four months, the union would not hesitate to down tools by way of strike after its NEC meeting if governors that are reneging do not show any sign of concern.”
Olukoya furthers that “This issue bothers on agreement which espouses that teachers should earn 27.5 per cent allowance higher in whatever salary they pay as minimum wage in every state as a way to motivate and bring them close, because we observed brain drain within the system and people are shunning public primary and secondary schools,”
The NUT helmsman noted that the principle behind the professional teachers allowance which he said was agreed to by Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, was to motivate teachers, adding that, “what brought about the decay in education is lack of motivation where people take teaching as last alternative when they could not fit in all other professions”.
He said the state governors had started to honour the agreement, until the issue of minimum wage came, making some governors to say they could no longer pay the 27.5 per cent allowance.
Olukoya, who argued over opinions in some quarters that governors had no legal right to make agreement, said morality should count as the governors played the role of patriotic and national leaders then.
He however appealed to state governors, who he said are twisting the agreement to suit them, to please pay to enable children of the poor who are in public schools to have quality access to public education.
The NUT president also called on MNILS and other stakeholders to intervene on issue whereby governors of Oyo, Ekiti, Ogun and Edo confer status of union on an unregistered body called Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, describing it as illegal.
He therefore called on state governors concerned to withdraw the letters and educate the people, saying the group should seek redress if they have misgivings with NUT.
Director General of MNILS, Dr. John Olanrewaju, in his address, charged the teachers to always embrace dialogue in trade disputes in the interest of nation’s development and growth.