The payment of April salaries to primary school teachers in Bayelsa has averted a planned three-day warning strike by teachers in the state.
The state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, had planned to proceed on a warning strike to press for payment of up to seven months’ salary arrears.
Agatha Goma, Bayelsa Commissioner for Local Government Administration, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Yenagoa on Sunday that the ministry had met with the teachers’ union to avert the strike.
Ms. Goma commended the primary school teachers for their patience and assured that the state government would implement all agreements reached with their union.
She attributed the delay in the payment of the salaries to paucity of funds due to dwindling revenue as a result of economic downturn.
The commissioner explained that the local government share of the Paris Club refunds was deployed to the payment of salaries of primary school teachers.
According to her, as part of government demonstration of good faith, local council workers are now getting full salary as against half salaries paid last year.
The commissioner said the state government would continue to work with the local authorities to find permanent solution to the lingering financial crisis in the councils.
Ms. Goma said government was aware of the critical roles of teachers in the ongoing educational revolution in the state and would not toy with their welfare.
“Teachers welfare is pivotal to Governor Seriake Dickson’s revolution in the education sector. There is no deliberate effort to undermine teachers’ welfare.
“The issues of half salary in 2016 and delays in payment arose because of the recession in the Nigerian economy.
“But the teachers should be assured that government is concerned about their welfare and everything is being done to find a permanent solution to this challenge,” Ms. Goma said.
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