Primary School Educators in Enugu State have proceeded on an indefinite strike over non-payment of Thirty Thousand Naira minimum wage by the state government.
The State Wing Executive Council, SWEC, of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Enugu State Chapter, after a meeting on Friday, 6th April, 2023, instructed all primary school teachers in the state should stay from work with effect from Monday, 9th May, 2022, the beginning of third term until there’s compliance with the minimum wage implantation by the government.
As reported by a Geeky Nigeria correspondent, some pupils in Nsukka town, who were not aware of the strike notice came to schools but were turned back home, as teachers were not available.
You might recall that the teachers had earlier embarked on a 3-day warning strike to coerce the state government to pay the New Minimum Wage, making the government to sue the leadership of the union. The Enugu State government had in a Summon with number NICN/EN/01/2022, filed a suit against the Theophilus Odo led NUT in the state, praying the court to stop the teachers from going on any strike on the premise that they were essential workers.
The government lost the case, as the NIC ruled that the teachers were not “ essential duty workers,” as alleged by the government.
Dismissing the suit, the NIC accused the state government of discriminating against primary school teachers.
The NIC, presided over by Justice Oluwakayode Arowosegbe had in an interlocutory injunction stopped the teachers from any strike action pending the determination of the substantive suit, and ordered an accelerated hearing.
Delivering its judgement on the suit, Justice Arowosegbe vacated the suit and compelled Enugu State government to negotiate with the teachers, explaining it was discriminatory for the Claimant to pay some workers in the state the Minimum Wage, from February 2020, and at the same time, declining to pay the teachers.
He added that the state could not restrain the teachers from expressing their grievances through strike action. The Court, in its judgement delivered on Tuesday, 8th March, 2022, maintained that “the primary school teachers in Enugu State do not fall within the categories of workers who provide essential service, hence they can embark on strike and other lawful means to press home their demand.”