Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA:
The Delta state Commissioner for Secondary and Basic Education, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, has expressed optimism that the ongoing strike action embarked upon by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Delta state chapter, would soon be called off, as government is mindful of their demands.
Meanwhile, the striking teachers who entered into negotiations with the state government on Thursday, March 09, 2017 insisted that the strike action was still on since the state government has refused to give education its priority attention.
Ebie who spoke to Blank NEWS Online shortly after the meeting with the leadership of the Union in Asaba, said he was optimistic that teachers would soon go back to classes because some of the issues raised by the teachers were being tackled.
“We met with them for about four hours and I believe that we have trashed out some of the issues. There may be one or two but we made passionate appeal to them and to consider their position. They promised to go and meet with their members and get back to us.”
On his part the state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Jonathan Jemirieyigbe, told Blank NEWS Online that:
“Our position as a Union would be made known until we have called our members for a meeting. I am just the Chairman and not the one that took the decision. The decision to embark on indefinite strike action was taken by the State Wing Executive Council (SWEC) of the NUT on the basis of the challenges that were listed.
“If I must be frank, it was all appeal on the part of the government, most especially on the aspect of the salaries and arrears. But as good the appeal may sound, an appeal also that we should accept 81 percent for the next three months. We are talking about December salaries, not even February.
“We understand there is recession. I think the problem of the government is priority. Prioritize your issues in order of their importance but they see the Primary school or the educational sector as unimportant. That is why those who have received their February salaries in full, are pleading with as important as the educational sector, that the Primary school teacher should accept 81 percent for December salary.
“We have not taken a position. I don’t have the mandate to go and take a position because I am not the decision making body. I have gone for negotiations, the outcome of the negotiation would be passed on to my members. Then in that very meeting the body that took the decision, its also their responsibility to reverse the decision if they are satisfied with government promises or aspects of the issues. The strike continues until next week when we have called a meeting of our members and brief them before we know the next line of action.”
The NUT boss, however warned the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUS) to desist from its propaganda, hence they are not a registered trade union but an association. They cannot usurp the powers of a registered trade union.They are still members ofNUT and don’t have the powers to direct Secondary school teachers to resume work.
Recall that the State Wing Executive Council (SWEC) of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) suspended its earler strike action on September 09, 2016 but on Thursday, March 02, 2017 resolved to resume the suspended strike action on Thursday, March 09, 2017.
The resolve by teachers in Delta state to shut down both Primary and Secondary schools is contained in a Communique signed by Comrade Jonathan Jemirieyigbe (State Chairman), Comrade Elder Joe Iyalekhue (State Secretary) and Comrade Okogba A. L. (Publicity Secretary).
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Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka