By Emmanuel Olorunsola
Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has expressed concerns over nonpayment of salaries of teachers in private schools for months since schools were closed by the Federal Government due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
The union said that a lot of private schools’ teachers had been affected by the pandemic, adding that some teachers have not received salaries for months since the inception of the lockdown.
In an interview with newsmen in Lagos, the National Treasurer of the union, Mr Segun Raheem, said that private school teachers deserved to be paid, adding that the NUT was making efforts to unionise them. He said though the effort had failed in the past, the NUT would not relent.
Raheem said, “The pandemic has really affected so many people – particularly when we talk of teachers in the private sector, so many of them have not received salaries since March.
“We as a union are working on unionising them. We have in the past but there were threats from proprietors. We will not renege. We will keep on making sure that our welfare is guaranteed.
“As a matter of fact, they are our colleagues; because we own the same licence to teach. If they don’t have opportunity in the public schools they should be comfortable where they are in private schools.”
Speaking on Federal Government’s plans to re-open schools for terminal classes – Primary Six, JSS3 and SS3, Raheem advised the government to flatten the COVID-19 curve first before asking schools to resume.
He also said many schools lacked requisite facilities to meet the laid-down protocol for resumption.
He said: “Majority of our schools do not even have running water. Now, if you say infrared will be used to check temperature, who holds on to the infrared? Is it the teachers that are not enough in the classrooms?
“How do you checkmate those students who have been measured and those that have not been measured particularly those schools that do not even have fences or gates where students come in from all angles?
“All these are serious matter. When you look at this second spike, particularly the one happening in the U.S. you see that youths are the ones that are vulnerable now because of the fact that necessary precautions are not taken.
“Most of the states in the Southern part of U.S. that have reopened all their things before are now locking down back. So I think we need to implore government to see reason why we should flatten the curve first.”