TEACHERS’ PAY AND WORKING CONDITIONS:
TEACHERS’ PAY AND WORKING CONDITIONS:
- NUT Must Struggle For Improvement
By Victor Osakwe
As the winners have emerged from the 2015general elections both at the federal and state levels, it is necessary for teachers all over the country and indeed the working class to look thoroughly at their situation and place demands for improvement on those that will run the affairs of the country and their respective state for the next four years.
TEACHERS AND THE MINIMUM WAGE
The minimum wage of teachers and indeed all workers in Nigeria was fixed for N18,000 in 2011 but up till now, the minimum wage has not been paid fully. Rather, what we have had is a situation where the lowest paid worker is receiving this minimum wage but the percentage increases to the higher level and workers has been very marginal or even little or nothing at all. The take-home pay of workers can no longer take them home as the inflation and cost of living are on the rise. In some states, teachers are being owed backlog of salaries and are forced to go on strike, so that their salaries can be paid. Political office holders are busy smiling to the banks for little or no work done.
TEACHERS AND THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
The working environment is deplorable. The furniture, classrooms, library, books and even number of pupils per class, etc are below the standard. It is easy to conclude that these are not important but they do contribute to the quality of students that are leaving the school system every year.
In Lagos State, the Eko project which was meant to improve the learning environment backed by an alleged World Bank loan of $120m (One hundred and twenty million dollars) has not yielded enough as the school system is still plagued with problems such as overcrowded classrooms, lack of furniture, inadequate staffs, laboratory equipment, etc. While some improvement is quite visible as some renovation has been done, a lot more and continuous improvements needs to be maintained. But this may not come without struggle by teachers with support of parents and students.
TEACHERS AND THE NEW PENSION SCHEME
The pension system in Nigeria has long been having problems before the change to civil rule and that is the reason why in March 2004, the new pension system was signed into law. In Lagos State, this new system was adopted in 2007 but the condition of pensioners is yet to improve. Generally pensioners, especially retired teachers, are being owed pensions up and down the country. Federal and state pensioners are complaining bitterly over the non-payment of their pensioners as at when due. It should be noted that their pensions are already overtaken by inflation caused by the economic policies of the governments both at the federal and state levels.
TEACHERS AND THE TEACHER SALARY STRUCTURE (TSS)
The issue of the Teachers Salary Structure (TSS) has been on the front burner for the past six years. Teachers have gone on strike for the TSS severally to ask for the payment of this salary but to no avail. Both ruling parties (PDP and APC) declined to pay this wage even at the period of oil boom that was witnessed up till last year before the oil price slump we are now going through. However under the pressure of 2015 election, the Lagos State government was forced to implement the balance of 27.5% Teachers Salary Allowance. Even this is insignificant to the quest for the full implementation of the minimum wage
The leadership Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) must be alive to their responsibility by placing the demands on the improvement in pay and working condition before the new government and be prepared to organise mass activities and strike where necessary to press home the demands. In such struggles, the teachers union must seek the support of parents and students as well as solidarity actions of the NLC and other industrial unions.