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Edo government, NUT disagree over proposed strike

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Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), yesterday, directed primary school teachers and school heads to begin an indefinite strike from Monday, January 18, 2021.

The directive was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its enlarged State Wing Executive Council (SWEC) meeting of January 12, 2021 in Benin City.

The communiqué, signed by state Chairman, Pius Okhueleigbe, Assistant Secretary General, Moni Mike Modesty Itua, and three others, said the order to embark on indefinite strike was due to the Edo State Government’s failure to meet its 10-point demands.

It noted that the directive followed the expiration of the 21-day and 14-day ultimatum earlier issued to the state government.

“All heads of public primary schools and teachers in the 18 councils of the state should embark on an indefinite strike from Monday, January 18, 2021 and ensure that all teaching and learning tools in their possession are completely put in off-mode,” the communiqué reads.

While commending the state House of Assembly Committee on Education, Controller of Labour, Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for their intervention, it expressed dismay over government’s nonchalant attitude towards discussing the issues with the union.

It urged all parents to keep their children and wards away from schools during the indefinite strike and admonished school heads and parents to disregard any form of propaganda, blackmail, announcements, pronouncements and intimidation against the decisions of the union during the industrial action.

The union, however, urged all lovers of education, good-spirited citizens and institutions to prevail on the Edo State Government to meet the union’s demands.

Some of the demands include payment of the 2013-2015 promotion arrears of teachers in Oredo, Orhionmwon and Uhunmwode councils, as well as reinforcement and guarantee of payment of salaries, on or before the 27th of every months as directed by Governor Godwin Obaseki. Others are implementation of the 30 per cent special allowance for teachers in schools for challenged children and payment of all arrears, among others.

Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has said that the plan by the state chapter of NUT to embark on an indefinite strike was baseless.Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Joan Oviawe, stated this, while reacting to the planned strike by public primary school teachers.

“There is no basis for the strike, Governor Obaseki has done much for teachers and the state government does not have any issue with anybody, as it has been very supportive to teachers,” she said.

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