Thursday, May 19, 2022

Minimum wage: Basic school teachers close schools in Enugu


A strike declared by the Nigerian Teachers’ Union (NUT) in Enugu state has paralyzed activity at the state’s public primary schools.

Newsmen report that the union ordered the indefinite strike with effect from Monday, May 9 in a circular no. 001/05/2022.

The circular was signed by the state Chairman and Secretary, Messrs Theophilus Nweke and Macs Nnaji, respectively.

The action was to protest against the state government’s alleged unwillingness to implement the N30,000 minimum wage in primary schools.

The circular partly reads: “The State Executive Council of the NUT has in a well-attended meeting mandated the union to direct all the affected public primary school teachers in the state not to resume for the third term of the 2021/2022 academic session.

“This is with effect from Monday, May 9, until payment of the N30,000 minimum wage is commenced.

“The strike must be total as no public primary school teacher in the state is to be seen in any school, while the strike lasts.”

The circular further stated that the action could only be suspended through a written directive of the leadership of the union.

“It is now or never, comrades,” it added.

Newsmen, who monitored the strike, which is on its third day, report that there is total compliance by teachers.

All the public primary schools visited in Enugu metropolis were under lock and key.

In a reaction, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eze, said the state government had already begun the process of implementing the new wage for primary school teachers.

Eze said that the leadership of the union was part of the process which, according to him, is at its final stages.

The commissioner said he could not understand why the teachers became impatient and embarked on the strike.

It could be recalled that the state government started paying the minimum wage in February 2020.

However, only workers in the core government ministries and secondary schools were paid.

Their counterparts in government agencies and parastatal organisations, as well as primary schools, were left out.

To demonstrate their grievances, workers in government agencies and parastatals wore black attire to the May Day celebration.

They also carried a banner with an inscription: “Black May Day for parastatals in Enugu State: Non-payment of new minimum wage, long denial of retirement benefits”.

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