Teachers groan under unpaid wages in Abia

Posted by News Express | 6 October 2016 | 2,695 times

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Lamentations by teachers in Abia State over five months salary arrears owed them overshadowed the 2016 World Teachers Day celebration in Umuahia on Wednesday.

The low-keyed ceremony held at the Awkuzu Lane Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Secretariat saw the Abia wing chairman, Comrade Akpranta Chizobem, asking the government to pay them their entitlements as the members of the chalk profession would like to get their reward here on earth. The theme of this year’s celebration was “Valuing Teachers, Improving Their Status”.

“We know that ‘our reward awaits us in heaven’, but let us to start to enjoy it here on earth,” Akparanta said before going ahead to reveal how much teachers in Abia are being owed.

According to the Abia NUT Chairman, primary school teachers have not being paid since June this year while their secondary school counterparts are being owed from May.

He disclosed further that Teachers Enhanced Allowances (TSS) for primary schools were owed in arrears of months, same with secondary school teachers who were being owed 11 months arrears of minimum wage.

Akparanta also complained that promotion of primary school teachers has been going on without cash backing, while Leave Transport Grant has been suspended since 2008 for primary school teachers and 2009 for secondary school teachers.

He pleaded with the government to “value the teacher and improve on his status and he will give his all to better the society because the working condition of the teacher is the learning condition of the child.”

“The government should also note that 'no country can rise above the level of its education,” he added.

Announcing achievements recorded by his less than two-month-old administration, the NUT leader said the union has stopped the retirement of teachers Grade Level 16 after eight years, stopped the pro-rata syndrome that made teachers lose huge sum of money from their salaries, in spite of late payment and consistent payment of teacher's retirement scheme benefits to retired members.

He also appealed to teachers in the state to take their work seriously, while assuring them of the readiness of the union to continuously fight for their welfare and rights and commended the government of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu for recalling 59 sacked, non indigenous teachers.

In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Education, Prof Ikechi Mgboji, expressed concern over the plight of teachers in the state but regretted that most problems within the education sector were being caused by teachers who are saddled with the management of schools in the state.

Giving an example, he said that the State Government reached an agreement for secondary school heads to keep the balance of N2,500 from the N5,000 paid as school fees by secondary students as running cost to enable then to maintain their schools but pointed out that the motive for the agreement is being defeated. “It baffles some of us how these funds have been put into use,” he said.

The commissioner raised an alarm at the high rate at which parents are withdrawing their children from public schools, which he said has hit 70 per cent.

 


Source: News Express

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