NUT threatens strike over states’ inability to implement minimum wage

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 The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has lamented the inability of some state governments to implement the National Minimum Wage Act for teachers since it was signed into law in 2018.

The NUT National President, Dr Nasir Idris, expressed concern in Abuja on Tuesday during the 2021 Teachers Day celebration and presidential teachers and school excellence award.

The World Teachers’ Day (WTD) is held annually on 5th October to celebrate all teachers around the globe and to also commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO recommendation concerning the status of teachers.

Speaking on the 2021 theme, “Teachers at the heart of education recovery,” the union said following the occurrence of COVID-19, teachers need to be adequately equipped, empowered and supported to be effective in carrying out the task of education recovery, and to meet the learning needs of all learners including the underprivileged, disadvantaged and other vulnerable children, especially the girl child.

Idris warned that members across the states would be asked to withdraw their services if the issues are not addressed urgently.

“The NUT observes with dismay that some state governments are yet to implement the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act for teachers since it was signed into law in 2018. We herewith call on the erring state governments to implement the National Minimum Wage without further delay. May we remind them that every worker is worthy of his/her wage, especially now that our take home pay can hardly take us home,” Idris said.

Meanwhile, the union also decried the incessant attacks on schools which has taken a dangerous trend from the North to the East and West.

“This trend has adversely impacted on teaching and learning in our various communities across the country. We therefore call on the federal, state as well as private individuals to join hands and restore peace, order and peaceful coexistence to ensure the safety of our schools and the school communities for the good of our country,” he said.

On the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries, Idris called on the National Assembly in the ongoing 4th Alteration Act on the 1999 Constitution, to provide for the funding of Basic Education through First Line Charge.

“It will also be of immense benefit, if the
extent of contribution of the various tiers of government in the funding of Basic Education is clearly defined in the constitution accordingly,” he said.

The union further called on the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure that the teachers of Unity Schools are allowed to organize themselves and participate in
NUT activities as their trade union of choice.

Meanwhile, the federal government has approved the sum of N75,000 as a stipend per semester for students undergoing degree programmes in Education in public universities in Nigeria.

Similarly, the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) students will get N50,000 as a stipend per semester as part of the deliberate effort of the goverment to attract the best brains into the teaching profession as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari last year.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who revealed this in a speech read by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Sonny Echono, said his ministry would collaborate with the states’ government to ensure automatic employment for the students on graduation.

“Undergraduate students of B.Ed/ B.A. Ed/ BSc. Ed in public institutions are to receive stipends of N75,000.00 per semester, while NCE students will get N50,000.00 as stipends per semester.

“Federal Government should find the modality through which respective states’ governments could provide automatic employment for NCE graduates at Basic Education level,” Adamu said.

Also speaking, President Buhari assured teachers that the implementation of most of the targets in the repositioning of teachers will be achieved by January 2022.

The president, who was represented at the event by the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said teachers’ welfare remains paramount in the scheme of things and negotiations are ongoing to ensure that their salary is prioritised.

He implored NUT and Nigerians to reflect on the past and reciprocate the landmark gesture by explicitly committing to the provision of excellent service delivery.

(Thisday)

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