AJIF (Ajegunle, Lagos) NUT ELECTION 2013
AJIF (Ajegunle, Lagos) NUT ELECTION 2013
VOTE: AJAYI O. V (Dagga Tolar) FOR CHAIRMAN, OSAKWE V.O. FOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY
Vote for Uncompromising Defence of Interest and Aspiration of Teachers
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) is presently in the lowest of waters, since its inception, with a growing apathy by a majority of classroom teachers to it. This is fallout of a leadership that is uninspiring, lack luster, completely self-serving careerists, and bureaucrats who virtually live fat at the expense of the well-being and collective interest of teachers for their primitive and selfish interest.
Rather than inspire teachers they continue to rebuff majority of classroom teachers, who, if they have a choice, would demand an end to the monthly union dues, as they can hardly point to anything tangible that the union does to justify the huge sums deducted from their monthly wages.
At no other time is there the need for the union to be built with necessary democratic ethos, as a mass based fighting union for the interest and well-being of its members. Anything short of this would only give bite to the gradual and ongoing collapse of the NUT into a shell that serves the self-interest and greed of career unionists and bureaucrats.
To halt this unfolding scenario, there is the need to restore confidence in the NUT by electing a crop of leadership that would put the collective being and interest of teachers as the overriding principle guiding all of its conduct, defend public funded education, and by constantly demanding decent working condition through the provision of the necessary structural infrastructures like laboratories, libraries, teaching aids and the employment of more teaching staff to match the growing number of student population; and of course a living wage.
This explains why Socialists like Ajayi O.V. and Osakwe V.O. are putting themselves forward for the offices of Chairman and Assistant Secretary respectively alongside the other candidates of the UNITED TEACHERS FORUM (UTF) for CHANGE in the Ajeromi-Ifeludin (AJIF), Lagos, branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) election 2013. A vote for all of these candidates would provide the union with a leadership that is geared towards repositioning and transforming the union into an organ of defense of teachers’ interest.
Socialists hold that all the major crises currently facing humanity, indeed the global economic crisis, are inherent products of iniquitous capitalist system which is driven by profit and greed at the expense of the need of the society. Socialism remains the only way out of the myriads of problem confronting the society. Socialists work for a working people government where the wealth and resources of society would be brought under democratic management to be able to meet the needs of all. Socialism alone guarantees equitable distribution of wealth and since labour creates the wealth, the shutting out of workers from managing the wealth they so produced is counter-productive.
DEFENDING PUBLIC EDUCATION
At no other time in our history do we have a preponderance of privately run schools littering every nook and cranny of Lagos state. Where learning are not necessarily better than the public schools, a majority of them are nothing but fleecing centre that seek to milk parents dry of their hard earn money, when in most cases, they are people with less qualified teaching staff, whose right to a union or to join the NUT is denied.
We are opposed to the handing over of public schools to private management as being presently contemplated in relation to Aunty Ayo and others. To us, the Public Private Partnership a pseudo name for handing over public owned institutions to private profiteers, land grabbers and speculators is an anti-workers policy, which puts teachers’ jobs at risk.
Revamping education requires a massive investment in building new schools, and carrying out massive repairs in the existing ones. While acknowledging some of structural changes that have taken place in recent time, the fact remains that more is still needed. On the question of ineffective teaching in public schools, this can be readily resolved with employment of more teachers in all subjects. It is an open fact that a majority of schools in AJIF are grossly overcrowded- a situation that makes teaching overbearingly too tasking for teachers, and too demanding on their health. The need therefore arises for the union to be in the forefront through lobbying, pressures, agitations etc., to see to it that more teachers are employed, and as well as bring an end to casualisation.
We call for the democratic control and management of schools by all concerned (government, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents and students). This is the only way by which the needs of the educational sector and the society in general can be met. This is against the current bureaucratic method of running schools with the top-down approach without input from those concerned. The democratic management will save cost and reduce wastage and also check corruption which is very rampant in our society.
Hence, there is a need for a very conscious and committed leadership in the NUT that can defend the rights of teachers.
We recognize the work that has been done so far in terms of the renovation and erecting of new school buildings in the Eko Project initiated by the government and even the supply of furniture to schools in order to improve the school environment. Even many laboratories have been renovated and refurbished to make environment conducive to learning. However, there is need for more as classes are still crowded and there are far too few teachers to tend to the need of students. In order to create better learning environment the UN stipulates at most a population of 35 per class. In the schools, class sizes especially in some secondary schools, it is as high as 80 or more per class. There is need to bring the class sizes down so as to be able to impact knowledge into the students. While we appreciate the distribution of free text books to all students in the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Biology, Economics, and Agric. Science, we hold that it should extend to cover all subjects currently offered in our schools.
LOANS TO TEACHERS
The hullabaloo over the IBTC loans collected by some teachers wherein the interest rate on the loan is increased mid-way into the payment of such loan, resulting into an extension of the loan payment and disruption to the calculation made by teachers. While we support the argument that those who procure loan should pay back, one cannot but be taken aback that the union should have anything whatsoever to do with such an arrangement to hand teachers out to an exploitative arrangement. We hold that members should have been guided by its union leaders against weary loans, or so called Sharp-Sharp from these private banks as they are only out to make or maximize their profit.
Could this have enriched even those that brokered the deal? One cannot but so conclude bearing in mind that the NUT AJIF Cooperative Society offers only 5% interest on loans, an interest that would subsequently be shared by all cooperators. So why the use of the platform of the union to saddle teachers with a burden that could have best been contracted individually? If elected we would so empower the NUT AJIF Cooperative Society, and campaign for an arrangement where banks can grant overdraft to teachers who have their salary accounts with no string attached.
MINIMUM WAGE/TEACHERS WELFARE
While there was an increase in the salary structure for all civil servants in the state, the percentage increase for lower cadres up to level 15\16 is terribly low compared to workers in the same categories in some states. Steps have been streamlined to 1 or 2, making nonsense of all of the years of experience acquired through the ranks. To make matter worse is a tax regime that is pathetically over deducted. As a result, the so-called Consolidated Salary Structure is nothing but an attempt to short change workers. The Teachers Salary Scale (TSS) which under the ambit of the current bureaucrats was reduced to Teachers Salary Allowance (TSA) (25.5%) is reduced to pittance. We shall initiate and call on the unions to campaign for a minimum wage of N52, 200 with periodic increases to match the rate of inflation. We are of the view that the wealth of society if democratically managed is enough to meet the need of all workers and unemployed.
The pensioners in Lagos State are still groaning under the backlog of huge arrears being owed to them by the state government. This deserves attention and interest of the union. The agony that retiring teachers have to face, waiting for years, some even dying without getting their gratitude can only mean that the idea of contributive pension by workers to be handed over to private organizations to manage is entirely wrong in the first instance. The pension of teachers and other workers is lodged in the hands of private profiteers who have the backing of the law to do whatever they like with such huge funds without having to consult workers and pensioners in general. We are opposed to this privately managed pension scheme. We advocate that the state on behalf of workers put in place an organ that would be democratically run and managed by all stakeholders as well as the right of workers to elect those to represent them in the management of the proposed publicly-run pension scheme.
A WORKING PEOPLES’ PARTY: JOIN THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF NIGERIA (SPN)
There is the need to break with capitalism and its neo liberal bent of running the economy driven by the greed to make super profit.
The need for a political party of the working people becomes imperative, and the labour leaders with their hands in one glove relationship with the ruling elites, have refused to take all necessary steps to bring this about. While socialists would continue to campaign for such a mass base Working People Party, the initiative for the building of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) is an effort that need to be supported by all workers and all the unions, as such we call on teachers both in and out of our branch to join and build the newly formed Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN).
Therefore, for reasons explained above, in addition to the programme outlined in the UNITED TEACHERS FORUM’s manifesto, we will pursue the following programme.
- Adequate funding of education sector. For the complete rehabilitation of the system through provisions of more and well equipped classrooms, hostels, cafeteria, libraries, laboratories, etc.
- No to imposition; all delegates to be elected by all teachers. For the involvement of all teachers in the electoral process.
- Democratic management of schools with decision-making bodies and committees including elected representatives of teachers, non-teaching staffs, parents and students.
- Fight against privatization and commercialization of education.
- To fight against retrenchment and for the recall of all retrenched teachers.
- The right to gainful employment. A job for every individual.
- Full implementation of N18, 000 minimum wage as a step towards a monthly minimum wage of N52, 200 with regular increases to match the rate of inflation.
- Unemployment benefits not below the minimum wage for every unemployed person. This demand is necessary because, in the final analysis, unemployment amount to reduction in the income of the employed since the reserved army of the unemployed depend on their employed relatives for survival.
- A pension not less than the minimum wage. Prompt payment of pensions and gratuities.
- To fight against corruption and mismanagement in the public service and public corporations which is one of the pretexts being used to justify privatization and commercialization; there is the need for workers’ democratic control and management of the public service and public corporations.
- A massive public works programme to provide houses, schools, hospitals, road, railways, electricity, etc., and to generate employment.
- Abolition of all anti-workers laws and decrees. Protection of the independence of trade unions from government interference.
- Multi-party democracy with guaranteed rights to independent candidates.
- An independent mass working people’s political party with socialist programme to provide an alternative to the existing capitalist parties.
We call on all teachers to VOTE for all UTF candidates:
Ajayi O.V. (Chairman), Oduntan S.O (Deputy Chairman), Whesu E.M. (1st Vice Chairman), Olugbade M.A. (2nd Vice Chairman), Ihuoma Okechukwu (3rd Vice Chairman), Bella O. A. (Secretary), Osakwe Victor (Asst. Sec.), Enwelim Pat (Treasurer), Mustapha I.E. (Fin. Sec), Ebelamu Dare (Publicity Sec.), Akinrinade F.B. (Social Secretary), Martins O. (1st Examiner), Iheazor P.U. (2nd Examiner).