Striking public school teachers in Oyo State defied the State government’s orders to resume work on Monday.
For the past month, teachers and students alike have been on strike in protest of the Oyo State government’s plans to introduce a “public-private partnership” in its schools. The strike action was called by the Oyo State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on June 6 following student protests against the privatization scheme. Schools across the State were subsequently shut down due to the violent nature of some of the protests.
Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi had on Saturday directed teachers to return to their posts on Monday. However, Oyo State NLC leader Waheed Olojede encouraged teachers to defy this order, saying that they should not resume work until the State gives in to the teachers’ demands.
“This reopening of schools does not in any way affect the ongoing strike in the State,” Mr. Olojede said. “Our struggle towards the payment of arrears of salaries and pensions for workers and pensioners in the State is still potent and intact. The entire workforce in the State, teachers in particular, will not return to work. They should wait for the directive from the NLC that asked them out of work since June 16, 2016.”
According to Punch Newspaper, some students reported to their classes in schools in Ibadan, the State capital, but there were no teachers present. It was gathered that some parents are prohibiting their children from returning to school until the dispute between teachers and the State government is resolved. Teachers and students were spotted in some schools in Odo-Ana, Apata, Owode, and Molete, but most left before 11:30 AM, according to one report.
In response to the strike, the Oyo State government has formed a fourteen-person committee consisting of seven representatives each from the government and the NLC towards reaching an agreement that would end the strike.