By Sam Oditah
Teachers in Abia on Tuesday said that there was no going back on the strike they embarked upon to demand the payment of the arrears of their five months salaries.
The striking teachers are under the auspices of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).
Mr Chizobem Akparanta, the state Chairman of the union, gave an update on the ongoing strike at the end of an emergency meeting of the State Working Committee at the union secretariat.
He told newsmen that the committee resolved that the action, which commenced on Jan. 9, would continue until the state government yielded to their demand.
Akparanta said, “There is no going back on this strike until the arrears of our salaries are paid to us. This is the resolution of the state working committee.”
He said that teachers in government primary and secondary schools in the state were paid their July 2016 salary in December, and were still owed August to December salaries.
“Following the development, the state working committee decided to write and inform the government that starting from Jan. 9, we would go on strike,” he said.
The state NUT chairman said apart from the arrears of their salaries, they were also owed about seven years of their leave grants.
He said that the primary school teachers were owed six years Teachers Enhancement Allowances, adding that secondary school teachers were also owed 11 months arrears of the minimum wage.
According to the union chairman, the union went on a three-day warning strike in January 2016 to draw the government’s attention to their plight.
He flayed the non-implementation of primary school teachers’ promotion entitlements, noting that teachers in the state were last promoted in 2011.
“In respect to all these, the teachers in public primary and secondary schools now resolved to embark on a strike,” Akparanta said.
Fielding questions from the newsmen, he said that government had not shown any concern over their plight and the current strike.
“Since we commenced the action on Jan. 9, government has not called us to a round table.
“As teachers and patriotic citizens, we are ready for dialogue when they call us.
“Everything is a game of give and take, but as of now, government has not opened discussion with us,” the union chairman said.
Public schools, which were scheduled to resume on Monday after the government’s postponement of the initial Jan. 9 date, are currently under lock and key.
The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji, on Monday told NAN on phone that he had scheduled a meeting with the executive of the union.