By Chioma Nnodim
FCT Wing of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, has suspended the indefinite strike action embarked by primary school teachers, following the intervention of the FCT Minister, Barr Nyesom Wike.
The union, however, said that the 40 per cent Peculiar Allowance, amounting to over N8 billion was still hanging.
The union State Secretary, Mrs Margaret Jethro, made this known in an interview with Journalists in Abuja on Monday.
Jethro said that the strike, which was suspended with effect from yesterday, Monday, followed the intervention of Wike to settle part of the minimum wage arrears owed the teachers. She explained that Wike promised to settle 40 per cent of the over N7 billion minimum wage arrears, while the area councils would settle the remaining 60 per cent. She said that the payment would begin from January and complete by March.
“We have suspended strike with effect from today and teachers are already in class. “Wike had promised that the deduction of the 40 per cent minimum wage arrears will begin this January and the area councils too will bring their own deductions for the three months. “So, based on that, we are giving him the benefits of the doubt,”
she said. On the N8 billion 12-month Peculiar Allowance debt, Jethro said that the area councils had argued that primary school teachers were not entitled to it. She added that the minister said he would write to the National Income and Wages Commission for clarification.
“The area council chairmen insisted that primary school teachers are not entitled to it, but the circular that came from the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission says all staff on consolidated salary, and primary school teachers are on consolidated salary. “So, the minister said he is going to make clarification himself and do the needful. “We decided to take what he has given to us and give him time to make the clarification,” she said. The official, however, said that if nothing was done, “we will take the next line of action.”
It could be recalled that the teachers had on Jan. 15 began an indefinite strike. The strike was a continuation of an earlier one suspended in 2023 over non-payment of 40 per cent Peculiar Allowance and 25 months minimum wage arrears, among other issues The NUT suspended the strike on Oct. 2, 2023, to allow for the resolution of the issues within six weeks which was not achieved.