Bayelsa teachers commence indefinite strike for 9 months unpaid salaries

Teachers in Bayelsa public primary schools have embarked on indefinite strike to press for the payment of the nine-and-a-half months’ salary owed by local governments in the state.

This was after they rejected the one month salary offered to them by the state government to avert the action.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the teachers had commenced an indefinite strike on Monday after a three-day warning strike.

The state wing of the Nigeria union of Teachers, NUT, said in a statement on Tuesday that it has directed the teachers to commence the action.

The Chairman of NUT, Kalama Toinpre, who signed the statement, said the action was meant to press for payment of outstanding salaries owed the teachers.

Toinpre, therefore, directed all primary school teachers to stay away from classrooms with effect from Monday.

The chairman insisted that they should stay at home until government pays them at least three months salaries to cushion the effects of “biting economic hardship’’ they were facing.

He said the teachers also demanded that the state government should take over the management and funding of the primary school system or “carry out its augmenting role to the local government councils’’.

He noted that augmenting primary school funding was being practiced in other states of the federation to sustain primary education.

The chairman also called on the state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the Post Primary Schools Board to implement the recent promotion exercises, and commence fresh promotions for teachers who are due.

He also demanded that the deductions made from the primary school teachers for identity cards be stopped forthwith, while all monies so far deducted should be refunded to the teachers without delay.
Mr. Toinpre urged all teachers to embark on seven days of fasting and prayers, in the first week of the strike, to seek God’s intervention over the plight of primary school teachers in Bayelsa.
He said that after two weeks of the strike, if nothing was done, teachers in secondary schools would also embark on sympathy strike that would ground the education sub-sector.

It will be recalled that the warning strike called by the NUT over the unpaid salaries in primary schools ended on May 4.

The state Commissioner for Local Government Administration had on Friday announced the payment of April salary to persuade the teachers to shelve the planned strike which the teachers rejected.
Also in Bayelsa, Health workers at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Yenagoa, under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, on Tuesday suspended their five-day strike.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the workers embarked on the strike on May 4, over non-payment of March and April salary arrears, and backlog of salary shortfalls owed the workers.
The suspension of the strike followed a meeting between the workers’ representatives and the management of the hospital on Tuesday.

It was gathered that the March 2017 salary was paid on Monday while the strike was in force.

The parties agreed that the strike be suspended and workers return to their duty posts from May 10.
It was also agreed by both parties that the outstanding April of JOHESU 2017 salary be paid within 14 days, with effect from May 10, 2017.
According to the agreement, signed by Denis Alagoa, Medical Director, FMC, and Save Nubani, Acting Coordinator of the union, no member of staff would be victimised for taking part in the strike.

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