Primary school teachers in the Federal Capital Territory have resumed their suspended strike over their owed allowances.
The FCT chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers had embarked on a five-day warning strike on November 18 .
The teachers, however, proceeded on an indefinite strike at the expiration of their warning strike to press home their demands, accusing the area council chairmen of not ignoring their demands. The strike was, however, suspended on December 1, 2021.
Speaking with newsmen on Wednesday, the Secretary of the NUT in the FCT, Magret Jethro, said they had given the Area Council Chairmen time to make good their promises, adding that the chairman had been playing a fast one on the union.
She vowed that the teachers would not resume classes if their promotion arrears from 2015, backlogs of annual increment , 25 month minimum wage arrears and other allowances were not paid.
She said,“ We reached them before resuming the strike. It was like they were not ready for us. This is a struggle that has been going on for a long time. You would recall that we went on strike over the same issues last year. The FCT minister and other stakeholders intervened.
“At that meeting, they pleaded that they needed time for them to look into what we presented and speak with their accountant so that they would come up with a workable template. On that note, we dispersed and agreed to meet on December 13 , 2021.
“Between December 13 and now , we have tried all we could to meet with the chairmen but they have been playing us.
“Two weeks ago, when we reminded them that we only suspended our strike, and threatened to resume, the AlGON chairman met with us and again he pleaded for more time.
“We gave the time and fixed the meeting for Thursday the following week, January 13, and we were to meet again on January 21 none of them met with us.
“What we saw was that the ALGON chairman wrote a letter that he would implement the annual increment of this year , which is not part of the arrears. The annual income increment is automatic for every civil servant.
“He also promised to commence payment of 2015 promotion arrears but we told him that was not the agreement. We had agreed that we would sit and look at the template together and agree on how and when the money would be paid.
“We decided if we resume our strike they have time for us. This strike is indefinite. We are demanding that promotion arrears from 2015, backlogs of annual increment 25 month minimum wage arrears and other allowances are paid.
“They have paid all the arrears of the secondary school teachers and most of these primary school teachers share the same compound with them, how do you expect them to feel? “
When contacted, the FCT chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Adamu Mustapha, described the decision by the teachers to resume their strike as unfair.
According to him, Area Council chairmen are making frantic efforts to offset these arrears which he said they are aware of.
He said, “We have said we would conditionally clear these backlog of arrears. They went ahead to declare strike after we had several meetings with them where this issue was tabled.
“I want to believe this is unfair. Even myself and another area council chairman pleaded with them to give us more time so that we are working on a template to pay this money gradually.“