Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 18 September 2012 | 4,515 times
Abia State Government yesterday held a crucial closed-door meeting with the leadership of the state branch of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in a bid to stave off a looming strike by teachers in the state.
Governor Theodore Orji was at the head of the government team during the meeting held at Executive Chambers of Government House, Umuahia, while Chairman of Abia NUT, Mr. Olua Omeoga, led the union leadership.
The meeting was called by the governor as part of his efforts to prevent teachers in the state from embarking on industrial action in obedience to the directive by the national leadership of NUT. The NUT recently directed its members in states that were yet to implement the Teachers Salary Structure (TSS) to down tools by the end of this month.
Though details and outcome of the meeting were not disclosed to newsmen, News Express gathered that it dwelt on implementation of the new TSS and payment of arrears of the state’s new minimum wage to teachers.
Omeoga told reporters that both parties had reached an agreement which he said he would only make public after consulting with the national body.
Prior to the meeting, Governor Orji had urged the labour leaders to embrace dialogue in resolving whatever dispute there was between it and government, saying there was no alternative to dialogue.
The governor acknowledged that the state has not implemented the new TSS, blaming it on paucity of paucity of funds.
He explained that the education sector would suffer a serious setback if the teachers embark on industrial action and appealed passionately to them not to down tools yet in the interest of pupils and students. He stressed that with dialogue, government and teachers would find amicable solution to the perceived problems.
“Peace is better than war. There is no problem that cannot be settled through dialogue,” Orji said, pointing out that as a labour-friendly state, Abia, “even without TSS, is paying higher than some states in the country.”
The Abia Chief Executive promised to implement the new package as soon as the state’s revenue improves while assuring teachers that their arrears of the minimum wage would be paid as soon as they were sorted out.
*Photo: Abia Governor TA Orji.
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