…we’ll sack striking teachers, says Kaduna govt
The Kaduna State Wing of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), has directed its member to commence indefinite strike on Monday, Jan. 8, over the sack of 21,780 public primary school teachers in the state.
This is contained in a notice of strike dated Jan. 4, 2018, signed by the union’s Assistant Secretary General, Adamu Anglo, in Kaduna on Sunday.
The teachers were sacked for allegedly failing to score 75 per cent pass mark of the competency test organised by the state government in June 2017.
The notice, circulated to all the union executives in the 23 local government areas of the state indicated that a two weeks ultimatum was earlier issued to the state government to reverse its decision.
According to the union, the decision has become necessary after the state government began issuing sack letters to the affected teachers after the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“As a responsible union, we ventilated our grievances before the National Industrial Court, Kaduna, and the court on Dec. 4, 2017, granted an interlocutory injunction, restraining the state government from disengaging any teacher pending the determination of the case.
“The court order was served to Gov Nasir El-Rufai, but surprisingly, he went on to order the distribution of letters of disengagement to the affected teachers, dated Nov. 3rd, 2017.
“We, therefore, met on January 4th, 2018 and unanimously resolved to embark on indefinite strike action on Monday 8.”
The notice also highlighted other unresolved issues with the state government, such as compulsory retirement of secondary school teachers before their due date as against the 35 years of service or 60 years of age provided by civil service rules.
Other issues include non payment of 2015 leave transport grant to 3,338 primary school teachers, as well as 2016 and 2017 leave transport grant to all public school teachers despite deductions at source.
The teachers are also asking for payment of salary arrears of more than 15,000 primary school teachers of one to 12 months from June 2015 to July 2016.
The NUT also said the government has failed pay the salaries to some teachers, while others are under-paid.
It stressed that the state government has also failed to promote teachers and provide teaching and learning materials to schools among others.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government has instructed its education administrators to open registers in all its schools, starting from tomorrow (Monday) and declare any teacher absent from work as having absconded from duty under the Public Service Rules.
The state government in a statement by Samuel Aruwan, senior special assistant to the Kaduna governor, said it will take firm and decisive disciplinary action including dismissal from service against those that absent themselves from duty.
He said, “It has come to the notice of the Kaduna State Government that the state branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has declared an indefinite strike.
“This is an illegal action, and will not achieve its aim of derailing the education reforms being implemented by the government.
“The Kaduna State Government is not available to be blackmailed into knowingly retaining unqualified teachers. Neither would it mortgage the future of two million primary school pupils because failed teachers are shamelessly mobilizing sentiment. ‘
The government explained that at the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Labour, it met twice in Abuja with the officials of the NLC and the NUT and the delegation was led by Governor Nasir El-Rufai to the first meeting.
It explained that during the interactions, the Kaduna government made it clear that as an employer, it has every right to determine who its employees are or can be, and the minimum qualifications they must possess.
“KDSG recalls that the NUT placed primary school pupils, who are the victims of failing teachers, in danger by pushing them into the streets to demonstrate for the retention of bad teachers.
“That ruse failed. Some union leaders are also likely to be prosecuted for assault, unlawful procession and destruction of public property when they attacked the State House of Assembly,” the government stated.
The Kaduna government reminded the teachers that it is the children of the poor that attend public primary schools saying it owes them a decent standard of education, and shall provide it.