Unpaid salaries: Bayelsa teachers’ strike enters day three

The strike embarked upon by primary and secondary school teachers in Bayelsa State over months of unpaid salaries entered the third day on Wednesday.

The teachers sat back at home on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday despite resumption of schools following the inability of the Seriake Dickson administration to pay them their salary backlogs.

The government is owing teachers and other categories of workers months of arrears of salaries.

Investigation showed that pupils who turned up on Monday and other days in their various schools were stranded as there were no teachers in their classrooms.

The pupils were said to have played away their time and later returned to their various homes after waiting in vain for their teachers to resume work.

On Wednesday, checks revealed that the pupils did not bother going to school after they were told their teachers were on strike since Monday.

At St. Jude Secondary School at Amarata, Yenagoa, it was discovered deserted. Some residents were seen playing hockey at the school’s field.

As of 9am, no pupil and teacher were seen around the St. Mathias Primary School in Yenagoa.

Similar situation was discovered at Community Primary School, Onopa, and the Community Secondary School, Okaka.

Teachers under the auspices of the National Union of Teachers made good their threat to begin strike after exhausting the final seven-day ultimatum they gave to the government.

The teachers accused the governor of violating all the agreements reached with them and failing to pay their salaries for about seven months.

They said non-payment of salaries had thrown them into unbearable hardship.

The teachers in a communique jointly signed by the state Chairman, Mr. Kalama Toinpre and Secretary, Mr. Jonhson Hector, had asked the government to reinstate dismissed teachers who were employed in 2008 and 2009.

They further appealed to the government to look into non-payment and non-implementation of promotions of teachers and N18,000 minimum wage arrears.

The teachers said they were angry at non-provision of instructional materials and infrastructures in schools.

When contacted, the Commissioner for Education, Markson Fefegha, was said to be in a meeting.

Further calls to his mobile phone indicated that it was switched off.