A Primary School Labour Leaders Should Know About, By Femi Kusa - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Monday, May 13, 2019

A Primary School Labour Leaders Should Know About, By Femi Kusa

There is a primary school in Iyana-Ipaja in Lagos which the Nigerian Labour Congress should be aware of. This school is unlikely to pay its teachers N30,000 monthly minimum wage. At present, it pays each of its national certificate of education (NCE) teachers N13,500 monthly salary. It does not pay them salaries during long vacations because it says parents do not pay school fees during the holiday. 

How do these teachers survive on N13,500 every month ? ,the NLC may wonder. They do, by organising after-school lessons in their classrooms. Every parent interested in this extra teaching pays N50 per child per day. Some of the teachers are lucky if they find about 10 children to teach after school hours. 

This would give them N500 a day. When the school knew about this, it began to share the money with the teachers, saying they had to pay for using the classrooms. The teachers obliged. 

Later, the school said the bursar should collect the lesson fees and administer it between the teachers on one hand and the school on the other. Whatever is due to any teacher is then paid to him or to her by the bursar's office at the end of every term. Again, the teachers agreed, unknown to them that the school will be smarter than they are at the end of school terms.

 What did the school do? Some parents do not pay school fees until the end of the year. The school says it is the duty of the teacher to persuade the parents of the children he or she teaches to pay school fees. 

When a parent does not pay school fees or does not pay it in full, the school converts the lesson fees paid on a daily basis to school fees, leaving the teacher nothing to look forward to as reward for spending extra hours doing lesson work in the school.

     The teachers are unhappy. But they are keeping the jobs because the jobs market is overcrowded. One of the teachers said the owner of the school told them the situation is not his making. He owns the buildings the school uses for his business. He must pay his rent on the property in which he lives. The rent will come from his income as proprietor of the school. He must pay the government of Lagos state to run a school. 

He must pay for other services the school must provide. He must keep school fees low to be competitive. He must not be too strict on parents, otherwise they will relocate their children to other schools. The teachers  must show understanding and pray for better days ahead.

    In these circumstances, what can the NLC do after raising the hopes of workers that N30,000 minimum wage must be paid and hitting up the economy for another round of inflation which will leave the unfortunate workers in a poorer condition than before the new minimum wage.

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