OGUN TEACHERS’ STRIKE: GOVERNOR AMOSU MUST MEET THE DEMANDS OF TEACHERS AND STOP HARASSMENT OF THEIR
Socialist Party of Nigeria Ogun State Chapter
OGUN TEACHERS’ STRIKE: GOVERNOR AMOSU MUST MEET THE DEMANDS OF TEACHERS AND STOP HARASSMENT OF THEIR LEADERS
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Ogun State Chapter, condemns in strong terms the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) led government in Ogun State over its refusal to honor the agreement the state government freely went into with the Ogun State Wing of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) on Monday November 30, 2009, on the implementation of Teachers Enhance Allowance, which is 27.5% of the salary. This irresponsible action by the government has now led to an avoidable strike; as the state chapter of the teachers union has been forced join their counterparts in 17 states in an industrial action beginning from June 1st 2013.
This strike action has led to closure of public schools in the state, which are attended by the poor working people children whose parents cannot afford private school education. The top government officials, whose failure to meet teachers’ demands has caused the strike, however, send their wards to expensive private schools home or abroad in most cases with looted public funds.
It would be recalled that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the NUT, at a recent meeting held in Asaba, Delta State , directed its State Wings whose governments have refused to honour the 27.5% Teachers Enhance Allowance and, in some cases, the 18,000 Minimum wage to teachers to commence a stay-at-home strike with effects from June 1, 2013. The affected states are Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Benue, Cross River, Abia, Nassarawa, Ebonyi , Zamfara, Plateau, Borno,Kogi, Niger,Sokoto and Taraba states.
It is particularly shameful that the state governments controlled by the ACN that claimed to be a progressive party with much touted claims of workers friendliness and free education policies, have shown no qualms about punishing teachers by denying them their right to pay and conditions
Indeed, apart from refusing to implement Teachers Enhance Allowance, the Ogun State ACN government has been unrelenting in its attacks on teachers’ welfare conditions. The teachers, especially the primary school teachers, have had to bear continuous late payment of salary, whenever the government chooses to pay and the non-payment of 30% Christmas Bonus, which was paid to their local government counterparts.
Other attacks suffered by teachers in the state are non-payment of promotion arrears till date; deliberate stagnation of teachers on same salary Grade Level in both primary and secondary schools; delay in harmonization of salaries of teachers in both primary and secondary schools to correct obvious lopsidedness in promotion prospects; and withholding of deductions from teachers salary meant for cooperative and other schemes planned towards retirement.
All attempts by the State Wing Executive Council (SWEC) of NUT to reach amicable resolutions with the government on the issues raised were arrogantly rebuffed. This prompted SWEC to resolve at a meeting held on Wednesday 8th May, 2013, to join the strike as directed by the national leadership. It is worthy of note, that state government rather than address the issues that led to the strike in the first place, has now resorted to threats, false propaganda and outright intimidation calculated to force the teachers back to classrooms.
We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) Ogun State Chapter call on Governor Ibikunle Amosu to stop intimidation and harassment of SWEC members forthwith, and rather commence immediately the payment of 27.5% Teachers Enhance Allowance to teachers in the state, while opening up channels of communication with SWEC as to how and when other demands will be met.
We call on the teachers union not to limit the strike to a mere stay-at-home action. They should organise mass activities like rallies, public meetings and mass circulation of leaflets to sensitize the public on their demands and mobilize mass support for the strike. We also call on Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other trade unions as well as pro-masses organizations to support the teachers with various solidarity actions.
This utter insensibility to the plights of workers by various state governments across the federation, regardless of party afflictions, has again underscored the fact that as long as these money-bag capitalist politicians and their parties remain in power, with their anti-poor policies and conduct, this current rot and crisis in the system would continue. For a complete break, we call on workers and youths to join and build the SPN as a formidable working people alternative to wrest power from corrupt and anti-poor capitalist elements in order to guarantee adequate deployment of the resources of the society for the benefit of working people and the poor as well as socio-economic development of the society.