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TSA: Nationwide strike looms over unpaid allowances

…As NUT gives Sept. 24 deadline

BY DAYO ADESULU

Teachers in public primary schools are to embark on indefinite nationwide strike on September 24, if the government fails to pay their 27.5 per cent Teachers Special Allowances (TSA)on or  before Monday, September 24, the National President, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Michael Alogba Olukoya has said.

The national president who disclosed that the decision to proceed on indefinite strike was reached at their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at Abuja recently said it was agreed that teachers in the 18 affected states which failed to pay the TSA should embark on indefinite  strike next week Monday.

According to Olukoya, while 18 states of the federation have complied and started paying the TSA as agreed in 2008, 18 other states on the contrary, have failed to accede to the demand of the teachers in their various states.

Some of the affected states that are yet to pay the 27.5 per cent Teachers Salary Structure  include Lagos, Abia, Cross River, Katsina, Delta, Ogun, Ekiti, Kogi, Enugu, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Niger and Zamfara states, to mention a few.

Olukoya said  that the proposed strike slated for Monday would have taken off in the month of July but shelved as a result of the intervention of the Minister of Education and other stakeholders in the sector. He, however, urged governors to intervene before the commencement of the industrial action as there will be no going back until they accede to their demand.

It will be recalled that after series of strikes by NUT from 1999 to May 29, 2007 when the late President Musa  Yar’Adua assumed office, he constituted a committee in 2008 to look into the agitation of NUT and subsequently approved the payment of 27.5 per cent increment to teachers.

Since 2008 when the agreement was reached, it was either the affected states renegotiated with their states’ NUT to pay part of the 27.5 per cent or pay nothing at all.

NUT Nat. President, Comrade Michael Olukoya and Education Minister, Ahmed Rufa’i

Some of the defaulting states heaped the blame on insufficient fund in their state, arguing that the monthly  federal allocation without Internally Generated Revenue is inadequate to pay teachers in the state.

Moreover, Vanguard findings revealed that some of the defaulting states see the payment of the TSS as a forgotten issue since implementation of minimum wage by states and Federal Government.

However, the position of Olukoya was that whatever is paid as minimum wage, teachers should have 27.5 per cent increment on their salary. He said that he expected the Vice-President, Sambo who was Kaduna State governor and part of the committee on education in 2008 when the agreement was reached to act, but has been keeping mum over the issue.

He noted that some states which receive less federal allocation and have little or no internal generated revenue had since implemented the 27.5 per cent to their teachers. Whereas, buoyant states are still complaining of lack of revenue.

On his part, the NUT,  Lagos State wing chairman,  Comrade Samson Kayode Idowu who urged Governor Babatunde Fashola’s not to renege on paying their 27.5 per cent TSA, said failure to do so before 24th Monday, all teachers in the state will stay away from classrooms come September 24, 2012.”

He said, “We are looking forward with passion to resume the new academic session as scheduled unless we are barred by the inaction of the government on the full payment of 27.5 per cent TSA to our teachers. If Lagos State government fails to accede to our demand before 24th September, all teachers should stay away from classroom from Monday 24, September.”

According to Idowu, the Lagos State government for the past months had resolved in paying 9 per cent out of the 27.5 per cent, while NUT in the state is insisting on nothing, but the full implementation of the TSS.

Idowu reiterated, “If there is any reason for Lagos State government to renege on our 27.5 per cent Teachers Special job related Allowances, I think it should be over by now, considering the quality of our teachers and their contribution to educational development of Lagos State.”

Asked if it was going to be a warning strike, Idowu reiterated that a warning strike is not necessary as the warning to government has been overdue since 2008.

The chairman made the declaration at the launching and distribution of the first batch of NUT customised laptops on e-learning and teaching to Lagos State teachers at NUT Pavilion, Ikeja.

Idowu who gave reasons for Lagos teachers adopting e-learning method of teaching said if the world has become a global village as we say, we must key into the system and avail our children of international best teaching and learning practices.

He added that the computer is fast replacing the lesson notes and electronic teaching is relegating the manual method to the background all over the world, noting that teachers should be ICT-compliant to be worthy of their professional calling.


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