*shuns striking primary school teachers
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has approved the implementation of the twenty-seven and half percent Teachers Special Allowance (TSA) for Secondary School Teachers in the State. This does not however cover the striking Primary School teachers as the Governor threatened to invoke the No Work, No Pay rule on them.
Speaking yesterday after a meeting with the executive members of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, (ASUSS), Oshiomhole criticised the NUT for embarking on an illegal strike.
According to him, “I want to thank you for trusting me and accepting the students under your care as your own children and refusing to do anything that would adversely affect their academic calendar.
“By your conduct you have shown that you recognize and are committed to upholding the noble values that shape the attitude of the average teacher. You have demonstrated that you see yourselves not just working for salary, but because you believe in teaching.
“I appreciate that you have done this in the face of being blackmailed or misunderstood. You recognize that all of us in Edo are stakeholders with shared responsibility to ensure that the younger ones have access to quality education”, he noted.”
Oshiomhole who acknowledged there were national financial challenges, noted that no government in the Federation had been getting what is due to it.
He stated, “you have refused to put issues of your personal welfare over and above your personal obligation and that is very well demonstrated by the fact that you have remained in classroom while you are pursuing your legitimate demand. When we condemn those also put this personal calling above public interest, we must appreciate those who have done otherwise”
“On that basis, irrespective of the financial challenges that we are in, we have looked at it and we have resolved as government to revisit the issue of the allowance. We know we are already paying seventeen percent leaving a balance of ten percent. We will commence implementation of the full 27.5 per cent from the 1stof July, 2013”.
shiomhole who expressed disappointment with the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) said I have never made promises to you that I have never kept. That is why I hurt when the NUT even though they were a party to that meeting, even though they agreed that what we are paying now is what we agreed to and that we have not violated any agreement, they promised that they needed time and would get back to us, they have continued with the strike.
“I have monitored the comments made by the NUT Chair in which he tried to twist the facts. Such tactics will not help”, he noted.
He declared “as government, we cannot fold our hands and watch anyone continue to disrupt our academic calendar. For members of the NUT who are not working, they will definitely not be paid for the period they did not work.
“Because they are employees of the Local Government, I have directed the Local Government to meet and decide what to do about those teachers who have refused to come to work. If the Local Government listens to my advice; not only will they apply no work, no pay; we cannot continue to keep our school closed.
“At a point those who want to come will be encouraged to work and those who do not want to work will be encouraged to stay away permanently and we will provide employment for those who wish to take advantage of the employment that will arise”.
Oshiomhole said “before I arrived at the decision, I need to remind that NUT that they were a party to the decision that approved seventeen percent prior to when the finances of the state improves”.
He noted that Edo was one of the first States to implement the Teachers Special Allowance.
“I believe the teachers have completely abused this understanding and they have decided to hold the system to ransom. I believe it is time to deal with the issue squarely and put it behind us.
“If they are under the illusion that anybody is going to increase their pay while they are on strike that is not going to happen. I have also directed the Commissioner for Education to discontinue the assessment for promotion exercise as it concerns primary school teachers. If they are at home, the promotion exercise as it affects teachers is also suspended”, he explained.
Responding on behalf of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary School Teachers, the Deputy President, Mr. Broderick Ighalo thanked the Governor for the approval given for the promotion of Secondary School Teachers.
He said “we want to thank the Governor for this 27.5% which has been graciously granted to Secondary School Teachers, we want to say thank you very much.
“We want to use this medium to say teachers in the Secondary School are part and parcel of your efforts at developing Edo State. We are solidly behind you”, Ighalo noted.