Labour unions seek inclusion of teachers’ salaries in first line charge
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) have expressed their support for a strong local government system in the country.
After their meeting at the Labour House in Abuja, the NLC and its affiliates said that primary school as the foundation of education deserves a national policy while its funding should be the responsibility of the three tiers of government.
Labour held that in order to guarantee regular and timely payment of teachers’ salaries, entitlements and benefits, these should be a first line charge on the federation account.
In the alternative, labour insisted that the constitution should strengthen the Supreme Court judgment in the Attorney-General of the Federation versus Attorneys-General of the 36 states, NWLR May 6, 2002, part 764, (removing in the process every ambiguity, lacuna or impediment), ceding the payment of teachers’ salaries to states.
It is stated inter alia: “As far as primary education is concerned, a local government council only participates with the state government. The function obviously remains with the state government.”
It noted that the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), State Universal Basic Education Commissions (SUBEBs) and local councils should be strengthened and empowered to play their roles and discharge their functions effectively.
Labour stated that councils’ autonomy should be total and comprehensive with all the rights, structures, duties, functions, privileges and obligations clearly spelt out as is the case with the federal and state governments.
It also submitted that clauses 7, 8, 162 and any other clause in the 1999 Constitution that compromise local government autonomy should be deleted to give free and unfettered meaning to ‘autonomy.’
This should make local councils function as the third-tier of government and should be directly funded while the tenure of their executive and legislature should be clearly stated.
It called for the unrestrained establishment and functionality of the Primary Health Care Boards/Authorities including salaries, training and programmes funding.