The National Industrial Court (NIC), Enugu Division, presided over by Justice Oluwakayode Arowosegbe, has restrained members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Enugu State chapter, from proceeding on strike.
Arowosegbe gave the order, Friday, in Enugu while ruling on an exparte application brought by the state government.
Recall that the state government had in suit no. NICN/EN/01/2022 dragged the respondents, Theophilus Odoh, and another, for themselves and on behalf of the teachers in the state to the NIC.
The respondents had issued the state government a notice of their intention to proceed on strike following its failure to pay primary school teachers the N30,000 minimum wage.
However, the state government swiftly approached the court to restrain them from embarking on the strike.
In a ruling, the judge granted the restraining order pending the determination of the substantive suit.
He said that the teachers were essential workers, adding that embarking on the strike would impact negatively on schoolchildren under their care.
Arowosegbe, however, said the matter would be given an accelerated hearing and warned that the court would not entertain delays by the state government.
He ordered the respondents to serve their counter-affidavit to the main suite on the claimants within seven days.
The matter was adjourned until February 22, 2022, for a definite hearing.
Reacting to the ruling, Odoh described the action of the state government as reprehensible and unfortunate.
The NUT chairman said that it was disdainful that the state government sued the teacher on the grounds that they were essential workers but failed to pay them their minimum wage.
He said that the state government had been making promises and excuses over the past two years.
“It is very unfortunate that this government is discriminating against primary school teachers.
“What they are doing is demoralising the teachers,” he said.
Odoh said that members of the union would not stop the agitation until the state government paid the minimum wage and its consequential adjustments.