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Gov. Ifeanya Ugwuanyi of Enugu State
Activities in public primary schools in Enugu State are currently in paralysis on account of an industrial action declared by the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).
The union ordered the indefinite strike with effect from Monday, May 9 in a circular no. 001/05/2022, signed by the state Chairman and Secretary, Messrs Theophilus Nweke and Macs Nnaji, respectively.
The action was to protest against the state government’s alleged unwillingness to implement the N30,000 minimum wage in primary schools.
Read the circular partly: “The State Executive Council of the NUT has in a well-attended meeting mandated the union to direct all the affected public primary school teachers in the state not to resume for the third term of the 2021/2022 academic session.
“This is with effect from Monday, May 9, until payment of the N30,000 minimum wage is commenced.
“The strike must be total as no public primary school teacher in the state is to be seen in any school, while the strike lasts”.
The circular further stated that the action could only be suspended through a written directive of the leadership of the union.
Added the circular: “It is now or never, comrades”.
Our correspondent, who monitored the strike, which is on its third day, reports that there is total compliance by teachers.
All the public primary schools visited in Enugu metropolis were under lock and key.
In his reaction, Prof. Uche Eze, Commissioner for Education, said the state government had already begun the process of implementing the new wage for primary school teachers, adding that the leadership of the union was part of the process which was at its final stages.
The commissioner said he could not understand why the teachers became impatient and embarked on the strike.
The state government, it will be recalled, started paying the minimum wage in February 2020. However, only workers in the core government ministries and secondary schools were paid.
Their counterparts in government agencies and parastatal organisations as well as primary schools were left out.
To demonstrate their grievances, workers in government agencies and parastatals wore black attire to the May Day celebration.
They also carried a banner with an inscription: “Black May Day for parastatals in Enugu State: Non-payment of new minimum wage, long denial of retirement benefits”.