Ugwuanyi promises to pay N30,000 minimum wage
The Enugu government says it is putting final modalities in place to pay primary teachers the N30,000 minimum wage following their threat to go on strike.
Commissioner for Education Uchenna Eze said on Friday that ongoing negotiations between the government and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) had been “fruitful and progressive.”
The teachers’ union embarked on an indefinite strike over non-payment of the N30,000 minimum wage by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s government.
The union directed that primary school teachers in the state should not resume for the 2021/2022 academic session’s third with effect from May 9 until the N30,000 minimum wage was paid.
”The state government has already begun the process of implementing the new wage for primary school teachers. The leadership of the union is participating in ongoing negotiation to that effect which is at its final stages,” explained the education commissioner.
Mr Eze, however, noted that the ministry was surprised to hear of the ongoing indefinite strike.
”It is impatience on the part of the primary school teachers to embark on the strike when we were making serious progress. We are at the final stage of concluding on the ongoing negotiations,” said Mr Eze, chastising the protesting workers. “The ministry and the union will definitely resolve the issue very soon and our children will get back to school to resume the third term academic activities.”
The commissioner assured parents and guardians that the state government would resolve to settle the matter very soon.
The government had in an originating summons with number NICN/EN/01/2022, against the NUT, asked the court to bar the teachers from embarking on any strike on the ground that they were essential workers.
The government, however, lost the suit, as the National Industrial Court ruled that the teachers could go on strike as they were not “essential duty workers,” as alleged by the government.
However, dismissing the suit, the NIC accused Mr Ugwuanyi’s government of discriminating against primary school teachers.
The NIC, presided over by Oluwakayode Arowosegbe, had in an interlocutory injunction restrained the teachers from embarking on any form of industrial action pending the determination of the substantive suit and ordered an accelerated hearing.
Delivering its judgment in the suit, Mr Arowosegbe, dismissed the suit and ordered the Enugu government to go back and negotiate with the teachers, describing it as discriminatory for the claimant to pay some workers in the state the minimum wage, from February 2020, while refusing to pay the teachers the same.
The judge noted that the state could not stop the teachers from venting their grievances by going on strike.
The court in the judgment delivered on March 8, held that the primary school teachers in Enugu did not fall within the categories of workers who provide essential services.