After what seems a breakdown of negotiations with state governors over the implementation of the Teachers’ Salary Scale (TSS), public primary school and secondary school teachers accross the nation will be heading back to the benches next month, Total Education reliably gathered.
Teachers’ umbrella body, the NUT, says it will call its members out on a strike as soon as schools resume next month.
The national president of the union, Comrade Michael Alogba-Olukoya, said: “The strike will go on as planned since the governors of the affected states have failed to reach a tangible resolution with the union after fresh moves to forestall the indefinite strike.
“We are going ahead with the strike if nothing tangible is done by the governors to forestall the strike.
“The strike is on course and it will be in the first and second week of September, depending on when schools resume in the affected states.”
An official of the union in Lagos also confirmed that there was no going back on the strike, if government failed to implement the TSS.
“The union and the committee raised by the Lagos state government have met on modalities and whether the government has the capacity to pay or not. There is no doubt that the government has (over-shot) what it is supposed to pay teachers. The union has collated what the actual cost implication will be, and what is left for the government is to honour it. And if (it does) not (honour it), nothing will stop the union from going ahead with the job boycott,” the source stressed.
The source added: “Since we are yet to know the preparation of the government to avert the strike, no teacher will resume in September.”
The national body of the union had threatened to call its members out on strike next month if governors of 13 states- Cross river, Kebbi, Katsina, Nasarawa, Lagos, Enugu, Delta, Zamfara, Niger, Abia, Nasarawa, Kogi, and Benue (who are yet to honour the agreement reached by the governors forum in 2008 over the payment of 27.5 per cent TSS) refused to do so.
Alogba-Olukoya, who expressed dismay over the action and refusal of the governors to implement the TSS, said at a press time briefing in Abuja: “This is a clear indication that such state governments do not respect the agreement.
“NUT wishes to call on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on those state governments to retrace their steps and pay the teachers in line with the agreement signed in 2008 to avoid possible dislocation in teaching activities in the states.”
The chairman of the Lagos state wing of the NUT, Comrade Samson Kayode Idowu, in a chat with Total Education, regretted that governor Fashola’s administration is paying lip service to the implementation of the agreement.
He said the union could no longer guarantee industrial harmony in the state if things continued the way they were.
His words: “Lagos teachers are angry that the state government has refused to honour the agreement it signed with the teachers on issues of special salary scale for teachers.”
Idowu said that it was based on the failure of the government to commence implementation of the 27.5 per cent salary scale for teachers that the teachers would withdraw their services next month.
On the moves by the Ekiti state government to avert the strike, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, the chief press secretary to governor Kayode Fayemi, declined to comment , saying that the education commissioner who would have been competent to comment on the matter would not be available until after the weekend.
If NUT’s threat is carried out, parents, children and the already comatose education system will suffer from next month.
Conscious of the negative implications of the strike, a parent, Mr. Alex Nwachukwu wondered why some states reneged to the agreement they wilfully entered into with the teachers’ union since 2008.
“The union has been threatening (to embark on strike) since over a month ago and the governors have done nothing to forestall it,” he lamented.
A legal practitioner, Mr. Niyi Bada commenting on the development, said “This is a terrible situation. They will wait until the strike begins before they start running from pillar to pole, threatening, “no work, no rule policy.”