Striking primary school teachers in Enugu State and local government workers said yesterday that they had declined request to call off the strike by members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), in order to continue negotiation with the state government.
The workers told council authorities that they were still on strike, which they embarked upon on July 28; and urged the government to intervene.
They said the strike was embarked on after two years failed attempts to include local government workers and primary school teachers in the N30, 000 minimum wage consequential adjustment, which the state began its implementation for other civil servants in 2020, exempting primary school teachers and council workers.
All the 17 local government administrations, including primary health workers and public primary schools have been paralysed since July 28 when members of both unions began strike, demanding to be treated like other civil servants.
Briefing reporters yesterday on the development, NULGE and NUT said they were being asked to call off the strike before negotiation could continue.
NUT Chairman Theophilus Odo, in a joint news briefing with NULGE, appealed to the government to approve the minimum wage for the teachers, as they had done for other workers, noting that teachers were not happy embarking on the industrial action.
He said: “Things are very difficult, we all buy from the same market. Our children attend the same school with others and we all use the same means of transportation. This is a high level of marginalisation. So, we ask the government to look into this matter for industrial harmony to continue.”
NULGE Chairman Kenneth Ugwueze said no less than three committees had been set up by the government in the past two years over the negotiation, without achieving result.
He said this was the first time some categories of workers were being paid lesser wage than others for over 30 months of the minimum wage implementation.
“From the improved federal allocations to all tiers of government, we can all see that allocations have improved tremendously within this period and we are surprised that with the improved allocations, this minimum wage is still being denied these categories of workers.
“So, I want to join my colleagues in NUT to plead with the government to see that this consequential adjustment is implemented for these categories of workers so that we can feed our families, considering the hyper inflation in the country,” Ugwueze said.