The Edo State Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and local government chairmen under the auspices; Association of Local Government Of Nigeria (ALGON) are currently having a running battle over the removal of the Leave Transport Grants (LTG) and annual increment from salaries of primary school teachers in the state.
The NUT at a meeting earlier in the week described the action as unlawful, adding that, it would resist any attempt to deprive them of their lawful earnings.
But the chairman of ALGON, Mrs. Itohan Osahon-Ogbeide explained that the LTG was only suspended due to dwindling finances of the country.
The NUT in a communiqué after a meeting signed by the state chairman of the NUT, Mike Uhunmwangho and the Secretary, Akin Adeojo alleged that the removal was a conspiracy between the ALGON and the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
“The ministry of local government unlawfully wrote to the Managing Director of Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) to adjust forthwith the payrolls of primary school teachers by removing the LTG and incremental.
“The NUT was not involved in or consulted in respect of any decision to expunge lawful items from the salary payrolls of teachers.”
The NUT gave February 19 deadline for the payment of “Complete Salaries” as already prepared by the ICTA, to all primary school teachers in the state.
The NUT said printouts for February 2016 and subsequent months should contain LTG and annual increment, as has been the case in the past.
The teachers noted that fulfillment of the above demands was the only way industrial peace could be guaranteed in the state.
Meanwhile, Osahon-Ogbeide, said the suspension was the only way to guarantee the regular payment of salaries to primary school teachers in Edo.
“The revenue accruing to the state and local government from the federal allocation had dropped drastically, as a result what is gotten by the councils is not even enough to pay teachers salaries as many councils in the state are on minus.
“In order not to owe any particular local government teachers since they are all paid in bulk, we decided that the LTG and the annual incremental should be withhold forthwith pending when the allocation improves then the arrears will be cleared.
“It is not a decision to stop them from earning their lawful salaries but we are only saying it should be suspended to give some breathing space and enable all councils to pay instead of few paying teachers salaries.
“It will interest you to know that it is not only that of teachers that are being suspended, but other council workers as well.
“Our appeal to the teachers is for them to be patient. If we have been fair enough to pay them all their salaries and allowances up to date, now that things are not okay, they should equally bear with us.
“We mean well but the constraint arising from the low allocation cannot accommodate all the allowances for now, definitely whatever they are being owed will be paid as things normalise.