The Enugu State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers has called on the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to pay the primary school teachers the N30,000 new national minimum wage and other consequential adjustments.
This call was made by the state chairman of NUT, Theophilus Odo, on Friday while reacting to an interlocutory injunction restraining the teachers from embarking on any strike to demand the payment of the minimum wage by the National Industrial Court sitting in Enugu.
Justice Oluwakayode Arowosegbe of Court II had while ruling on ex parte application brought by the state government to stop the teachers from embarking on any strike action to demand the payment of the new minimum wage, held that the teachers were essential workers and embarking on any form of strike would going to impact negatively on the poor primary school children in the state.
In suit No: NICN/EN/01/2022, between Enugu State Government (Claimant) vs Theophilus Odo and another for themselves and on behalf of the teachers in Enugu State (defendants), the court ruled thus:
“I hereby grant an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant/respondents from going on any strike or industrial action pending the determination of the substantive suit.”
But reacting to the ruling of the court, the NUT chairman described the action of the state government as very unfortunate and discriminatory.
He said, “The state government has sued the teachers asking the court to restrain them from going on strike claiming that they are on essential service. But I want to say that if the teachers are on essential service they should pay them an essential salary.”
He added, “It is very unfortunate that this government should be discriminating against the primary school teachers who taught them. It is very unfortunate and what the government is doing now is demoralising the teachers. Whether we like it or not is affecting the whole educational system in the state.
“When the teacher is not happy; when the teacher doesn’t eat while coming to school and not even sure whether he will eat while he goes home, he will not be happy to teach in the classroom.
“I want to appeal to the state government to do something to remedy this situation. They have sued the NUT to court without any reason because they are asking for their rights. You can’t beat a child and ask a child not to cry. It is the greatest injustice. They are just crying because they are hungry.”