By Peter Duru
MUKURDI â€” Secondary school teachers in Benue State under the auspices of Academic Staff Union of Secondary School Teachers, ASUSST, have commenced an indefinite strike, demanding a 27 per cent salary increment.
However, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in the state has described the action of the teachers as illegal and in total negation of the statutes of labour.
According to the Benue State chairman of the NLC, Comrade Simon Anchaver, ASUSST was an illegal body that was not recognised by organised labour in the state, hence it lacked the capacity to compel teachers to down tools.
The Labour leader urged secondary school teachers in the state to disregard the call to embark on the industrial action, maintaining that such call was in contravention of the laid down rules and regulations governing industrial disputes.
The Benue State Commissioner for Education, Mr. Benjamin Ashaver, on his part described the action of ASUSST as unfortunate and unacceptable.
Ashaver said the state government had been in negotiation with the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, on the proposed 27 per cent increment, describing ASUSST as an unknown body that was out to frustrate the progress so far made with negotiations.
He disclosed that based on the negotiations with the NUT, government had already mandated the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, to evaluate the financial implications of the proposed wage increment and report back to government in two weeks time.
The Commissioner said SUBEB was yet to report back to government to pave the way for the increment as being agitated by teachers.
He advised those behind the supposed industrial action to desist from throwing spanners in the works for Benue teachers with their illegal activities, warning that government would not fold its arms and allow few individuals unleash confusion in the system.