Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Teachers Strike Suspension: DSM commends the Steadfastness of Teachers So Far

Teachers Strike Suspension: DSM commends the Steadfastness of Teachers So Far

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) commends the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and the whole public school teachers in the country for their steadfastness and resolve during the period of the just suspended strike that lasted from 29th June to 29th of July 2008.

We also commend Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) for their various solidarity actions, including mass protests in support of the struggle of teachers.

We urge the NUT as well as all teachers in general to be weary of the governors and their representatives who will do anything possible to pay far less than what the federal government will likely give to teachers on its pay-roll. As such, the NUT should insist that the federal government should increase the vote to the states in order to offset the burden that this will put on the states. Since the federal government is responsible for setting standards in the educational sector for all local governments, states and federal level, it should also set the level for remunerations for all teachers who are going to operate the educational standard.

The NUT should resist all attempts to make the states pay any amount as TSS to its teachers. The argument that federalism allows each state to run its educational sector as it deems it fit does not hold water. This is because the federal government fixes the educational curriculum for all subjects and that is why all children jointly sit for the same oʼlevel and matriculation examinations. Why should the federal government now bring disparity, despite the fact that teachers at all levels teach the same thing; only for them to be paid different wage.

The danger of allowing the states to dupe the teachers at the state level is still there, that is why the federal government is calling on the NUT to negotiate with the state governments so as to reduce the wages of the teachers at the state and local levels. As such, the NUT should be weary of the negotiating team from the state governments. It also should be noted that despite the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) fixing salaries for all political office holders, none of the states has come out to reject this as a result of the inability of the states and local government to pay. They have been collecting these salaries instead of giving themselves a pay cut.

The NUT, as representatives of both primary and secondary school teachers should as a matter of priority, insist that teachers deserve a living wage, as well as better working condition and environment. In addition, the NUT should call for proper funding of public education by governments at level that will guarantee provision of adequate and functional facilities and well-motivated manpower for quality education.

It should be however noted that the government, despite the huge resource, even from the sales of crude alone, at its disposal, has refused to commit adequate fund to education like other social services because of its anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist policies. While the struggle of teachers and other workers could force government to grant some concession or improvement, it is imperative that the government has to be replaced by a working people alternative in order to guarantee basic needs for all on permanent basis as well as infrastructure necessary for socio-economic development of the country. This is why we of the DSM have been calling on the leadership of labour and pro-masses organizations to facilitate the formation of a fighting working people party to wrest power from the thieving ruling elite at all levels.

The DSM calls on the NUT not to rest on its oars till its demands are met and urges the NLC leadership to do more than mere verbal support, it has exhibited so far, in case the government does not meet teachersʼ demands after the expiration of the strike suspension period.

Victor Osakwe,
A Teacher in Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government
For the Democratic Socialist Movement