By Ola Ajayi
GOVERNOR Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State, has said the delay being experienced by teachers in the payment of their 27.5 per cent salary increase is to avoid industrial unrest in the state.
The teachers under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, have embarked on indefinite strike over the refusal of the state government to pay the salary increase which other states across the country have been paying.
The governor said this just as he hinted that henceforth, teachers in the state would collect their take-home pay through cards and that a consultant had already been instructed to carry out the biometrics of all the teachers in the state.
He expressed displeasure at the financial burden that the payment of teachersâ€™ salary alone was putting on the state.
Akala said it baffled him how the teachers could continue to demand for the same salary even when teachers retired from service.
Governor Akala, while addressing newsmen during the monthly forum with newsmen, said another remote cause of incessant strikes by the teachers was as a result of the indiscipline that had permeated the country.
He said: â€œWhat we are trying to do is to avoid labour crises in the state. All other workers too are entitled to get their salaries increased. It is not only the teachers. What is happening to teachers in the state is what is happening in our society. It is nothing but indiscipline. Most of us are indiscipline. It is not the strike that will make me pay the money . They canâ€™t hold me to ransom by their strike. I donâ€™t care. It is a universal law that if you donâ€™t work, you donâ€™t get paid.”
The governor who insisted that no matter how knotty a situation was, strike should not be a solution. Instead, continued dialogues would still solve the problem.
According to him: “It is a pity that we donâ€™t match productivity with income. If they have decided not to come to work for the month of July, they would not get paid for that month.”
Governor Akala did not hide his feelings about the problem created by the Federal Government which forces policies down the throats of the federating states as if the country is operating unitary system of government.
He said his reluctance in paying the salary increase should not be seen as sheer wickedness but he is just trying to ensure that other developmental projects are not stalled because of the salary of teachers. He added that their salaries alone gulped over N1.5 billion monthly.