By Ola Ajayi
MEMBERS of the Nigeria Union of Teachers in Oyo State may reject their March salary, following alleged forceful deduction of 2.5 per cent for the National Housing Fund by the state government.
In a statement by the State Secretary of the union, Mr. Olu Abiala, the teachers alleged that the state government had concluded plans to effect the deduction at the end of this month.
According to the statement, the unwanted deduction would affect all teachers in both primary and secondary schools in the state.
The teachers explained that their refusal to allow government deduct the money was occasioned by the failure of successive governments in the state to account for the initial N250 million which was deducted during the administration of Alhaji Lam Adesina.
They further stressed that the non-remittance of the initial contribution and protest by the teachers through the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, led to the stoppage of the contribution.
NUT said it suspected that the government wanted to deduct the money at this crucial time of electioneering for the 2011 elections.
Accuse govt of oppression
It noted that the issue became more disturbing considering the oppressive manner the government had been handling the teachers in the state.
The statement read, â€œit becomes more worrisome that a government that has remained impervious to the demand for the enhancement of workersâ€™ pay which is the lowest in the South West, particularly the non-payment of 27.5percent teachersâ€™ professional allowance, is always in a hurry to decimate workersâ€™ pay through unnecessary deductions.
The union warned the Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala administration not to think that with the division in the NUT, it can ride roughshod to treat teachers with contempt.
Threaten industrial action
To avoid another industrial crisis, the union called on the state government to urgently withdraw the circular, adding that if the chips are down, â€œnot even the first baby of the government divide and rule tactics, the Academic Staff Union of Secondary School, would sympathize with the government.
The statement said head teachers and principals should be cautious not to conspire with the state government against the teachers, warning them to resist from this unpopular and unwarranted deductions.