Mr. Francis Jatau, chairman of the state chapter of Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), have urged the state government to stop paying their salaries in percentages and meet their demands or else the ongoing strike would continue, in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lafia the state capital yesterday.
He said past experiences with the state government had taught them a lesson, hence, the need to ensure that all demands were met before the teachers would resume work.
“We don’t want to be seen as people who like to go on strike. That is why we will ensure that our demands are fully met to the satisfaction of our members.
“We urge everyone to be patient with us while we find a lasting solution to our demands,’’ he said.
Jatau appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in the non-payment of their salaries by the state government so that teachers could return to classrooms.
He explained that for over eight months, teachers in the state were receiving salaries in percentages.
The NUT chairman said the situation had compelled the teachers to initiate a dialogue with the state government on how to end the percentage-payment trend.
He, however, said the state government refused to honour the teachers’ demand to stop payment in percentages across the state.
“We even agreed that if a month’s allocation cannot pay a month salary, they should merge two months allocation received from the federation account to pay one month full salary.
“We know the economic situation we are in and we are ready to sacrifice but they refused and kept paying in percentages, a situation we cannot continue to tolerate,’’ he said.
He added that government also refused the teachers’ demand that their salaries be transferred from the Ministry of Local Government Affairs to the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
According to him, the demand for the transfer was to curtail unnecessary deductions.
On the threat by the state government to replace the striking teachers, Jatau said they were not bothered about it.
“If government had called for dialogue, we would have listened but government failed to do so,” he said and urged the teachers to remain at home pending further directives from the union on the next line of action.
According to NAN, teachers in the state under the aegis of NUT had embarked on an indefinite strike since June 1.
They are demanding an end in the payment of their salaries in percentages and the transfer of their salaries from the Ministry of Local Government Affairs to SUBEB.