As the one week ultimatum given to the Government of Nasarawa state to fulfill its demand or risk strike action by state and Local Government civil servants, the round table talk between the Nigeria Labour Congress and the state Government has hits brick wall.
The NLC under the headship of Abdullahi Adeka and the Secretary to the State Government, Suleiman Umar Azores round table discussion didn’t yield any fruitful result, It was purported that even before the kick-start of the meeting the SSG assured the Labours that he has the mandate to fulfilled all its demand.
Insider from the SSG’s office said, Suleiman Azores few minutes after the commencement of the meeting unfold that the state has no money to clear backlog of staff salary at the Local Government level.
But NLC insisted that the state Governor must source for money to settle workers salary, this compelled the SSG and the labour leaders to rescheduled the inconclusive meeting to another day within the week.
The SSG when contacted shortly after the meeting said they agreed to meet with the labour leaders on another day but within the week, When asked about the remaining balance of N350m flood money doled out in 2012 by former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to cushion the effect of flood disaster in the state, The SSG declined comment.
Abdullahi Adeka, The state NLC chairman in a telephone interview said no agreement was reached, saying labour leaders will meet and get back to the press accordingly.
There is no end in sight to the payment of full salary of workers at the third tier of Government, It would be recalled that for the past one year Local Government workers were receiving their salaries on percentage despite the N4.3bn set aside from the bailout for the payment of backlog of Local Government salary.
According to available information some Local Government workers were paid half of their two to three months salaries while some owe either 80% or 50 % of November, December salaries while some workers buttressed that they were given empty cheque. The planned state-wide strike was coming at a time that the state Government’s payment of Local Government workers salary was by percentage.
Some of the demands of the organized labour in a press statement and made available by the Organized Labour Bulletin Committee is that:
-Government should ensure the payment of full salary as well clear all backlog of salaries
1.The implementation of their promotions and annual increment to all workers in the state that are stagnated for the past six years.
2.Payments of four months arrears of N18,000 minimum wage .
3.Payment professional allowances to deserving workers in the state.
4.Failure on the part of Government to address the issue of pension and gratuity to retirees at state and Local Government level despite the assessment of bailout fund from the Federal Government.
5.Failure to implement all agreement reached before the commencement of biometric exercise and the release of the report.
6.The continues delay on the part of Government to address the issues of omission of staff from Local Government as the Governor remain mute.
In a related development, Concerned Local Government Pensioners in the state in a letter of complained dated 12/November/2015 and published in Daily Trust and other dailies addressed to president Muhammadu Buhari with a title “AN OPEN LETTER TO MR.PRESIDENT:OUR PREDICAMENTS,OUR FUTURE-A CALL FOR INTERVENTION as the Local Government pensioners called on the state Governor to stop all ongoing projects and concentrate on the payment of salaries and gratuity.
The pensioners lament over the channeling of N4bn for the construction of bogus cargo airport in Lafia,The retirees expressed displeasure over the diversion of fund meant for the settlement of salaries and pension.
“We are worried that while explanation were made on the release of N4.3bn bailout cheque for Local Government to ALGON on Monday 19th/October/2015 there hasn’t been any mention regarding the payment of gratuity for Local Government pensioners with tears,The money was paid in percentage of between 50%-70% as monthly pension was received with tears.
The pensioners insisted that the money received as bailout fund was N18.3bn not N8.3bn as rightly said by Al-Makura,”On 19th/08/2015 Al-Makura presented a request of the sum of N25,745,940,824.40 to the state Assembly which will enable the state to have N12,183,262,520.10k while Local Government will received N13,612,378,790.30kk,The again presented another letter on 5/10/2015 to slash the amount to N18.3bn,A request which was granted by the House with the following breakdown
1.Airport project -N4bn
4.Nsubeb counterpart fund-N1bn