By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT— Civil servants in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, protested non- payment of two months salaries at the state secretariat.
Mr Tony Ochiagha, who spoke during the protest, said that by the end of this month, salaries would be in arrears of three months salaries.
He alleged that they had not been paid overhead in the last eight months.
According to Ochiagha, the overhead was used to pay casuals of various ministries such as cleaners and others.
“If you go inside the toilets now, you will see that they are filthy because the casuals have all downed tools due to backlog of allowances for eight months,” he said.
He claimed that the state government came up with what he termed social services levy, adding that it had depleted their monthly take home pay.
“They removed our Christmas bonus. They said it is dead and buried. They imposed a new tax regime on us. My salary is depleted beyond measure. They introduced social service levy after we had paid our taxes. We will not sit back here and allow ourselves to be deceived again. They should pay us our salaries,” he said.
He alleged that jobs of some of the workers had been contracted to consultants, thus short changing some civil servants.
“Don’t give our jobs to consultants. They should not cheat us. There is money to run the ministries. We use money from the overhead to pay casual workers. They are owing us two months and now we are entering the third month. I speak for the pained workers of Rivers State. Our labour leaders tolerated all these. We are also protesting against our labour leaders.”
Secretary of pensioners in the state, Mr Joseph Agbo said they are owed five months.