ERC supports the strike of Abuja Teachers
We Demand Improved Funding of Public Education and Better Working Condition for Teachers and All Education Workers
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) commends the five-day warning strike of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Abuja that was declared over non-payment of their promotion arrears. We support this struggle and call on the striking teachers not to relent until victory is achieved. We call on the government to meet all the teachers’ demands. We also demand improved funding of public education and better pay and working conditions for teachers and all education workers.
According to the union, the FCT Administration has failed to pay 2016, 2017 and 2018 promotion arrears to the secondary school teachers in the FCT despite an ultimatum issued. Also, despite various ultimatums issued to the six Area Council chairmen to settle the outstanding entitlements of the teachers, they have refused to heed the union’s call to pay primary school teachers’ entitlements, which included non-implementation of 2019 and 2020 promotion arrears in some LEAs.
We condemn this non-payment of workers entitlements by the Federal Capital Territory Administration. For an FCT/Area Council administration whose funding from the Federal wealth comes in directly and constantly without any hitch and that’s infamous for massively taxing small business owners, house owners, etc. across the length and breadth of Abuja, it is grossly irresponsible that teachers are not being paid their entitlements.
While aware of the State Wing Executive Council (SWEC) decision to call off the strike partly by the secondary school teachers following the agreement after a meeting with the FCT Minister where the promise to start payment before the year ends was made, we commend the declaration of an indefinite strike for the primary school teachers. The primary school teachers can only win a victory that will ensure their entitlements are paid by the area council chairmen with the power of a worker’s strike.
Meanwhile, for us in the ERC, we believe that the strike should extend beyond the issues of entitlements for teachers and include the demand for better teaching and learning facilities for primary and secondary schools in Abuja. We believe that a demand for the full and adequate funding of the schools by the FCTA and Area Council must be included in the demands.
To drive these demands home, a strike of the primary school teachers might not be enough. Open solidarity from the secondary school teachers, other education unions within and outside the FCT, and the NLC and TUC must be harnessed to win the struggle. We believe the teachers can win this solidarity and public support by moving beyond sit-at-home strikes, to staging rallies and street protests to intimate the public with the grievances of the union over the irresponsibility of the Government that has kept children at home. The SWEC must also regularly mobilize and call for timely general democratic congresses of teachers to make decisions on the strike and execute them.
Comrade Adebowale, ERC Abuja
ERC email: [email protected]