NUT: Supreme Court didn’t grant separate union to secondary school teachers

This news was culled from The Nation Newspaper’s publication of February 10, 2021

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has debunked insinuations that the Supreme Court’s judgement of January 15, 2021 granted secondary school teachers a new trade union known as Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS).

Speaking in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on the progress of its court case with ASUSS, the National President, NUT, Dr. Nasir Idris, described the impression as deliberate mischief, misinterpretation and misinformation from ASUSS.

Idris, whose address was read by NUT’s Deputy President, Kelvin Nwankwo, clarified that the apex court only ruled on the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to grant a restraining order sought by the NUT against the move to register the trade union contrary to the provisions of the law.

He said the apex court only returned the matter to the Court of Appeal for fresh hearing on the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.

Idris said: “The group of secondary school teachers led by Mr. Samuel Omani making a hollow, deceptive and false claims to have obtained judgement to unionise secondary school teachers is reckless, complete falsehood and extraneous to the decisions of the Supreme Court as well as other relevant labour laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“With the provision of the Trade Union Act we call on all teachers of secondary schools in Nigeria to disregard the baseless claim by ASUSS as no such matter of membership of secondary school teachers was before the Supreme Court and the status of NUT in unionising teachers of primary and secondary schools remain sacrosanct and backed by the jurisdictional scope of trade unions”.

Idris said in the 90 years of NUT’s existence, the leaders had been mutually rotating its apex leadership position between the secondary and primary school teachers.

He said out of the 15 presidents of NUT, only two had been selected from the primary school arm while others were drawn from secondary schools.

NUT also disclosed that its interest was the welfare of its members, adding that it would storm and declare industrial action in states treating welfare of its members with levity.

Quoting the third schedule Part A No. 26 of the Trade Unions Act CAP. T.14 LFN 2004, he said: “Nigeria Union of Teachers Shall exercise jurisdiction over teachers employed in educational institutions of all types, but excluding Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and other tertiary institutions.

“As severally established by the Registrar of Trade Unions, that Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) is the body that is statutorily registered to organise teachers in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.

Idris urged teachers across the country to exercise patience with the federal government on the move to implement the increased new retirement age of 65 years for teachers, adding that when the process was completed that teachers would enjoy.

He said: “We all know the process of law that the bill is executive. Though the President has approved, it is still in process. The National Assembly is working and we are following up and we are optimistic that it will be passed as a bill and be gazetted.

“It is NUT that asked for this welfare package. We have held the public hearing because we went to the red Chambers, but the President could not accented to it during the 8 Assembly. We kept pressing and it was returned as an executive bill. We urge our members to be patient, very soon it will be passed and we start enjoying it.”

Idris said the union would soon commence action against states that had refused to implement the new minimum wage and owing teachers, adding that the move had started with Abia State.

He said: “NUT is doing a lot. Recently the national body declared indefinite strike in Abia State to press the demand for teachers that have not been paid to be paid. We have started with Abia. The strike is entering the fifth week. We are going to other states to fight the course of our members.”

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