September 1, 2017

Benue workers shun gov’s plea, declare one week warning strike


Gov Samuel Ortom

By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—Despite appeals by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to workers in the state to shelve their threat to down tools over backlog of unpaid wages, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, at an emergency congress yesterday,  declared a one week warning strike scheduled to commence on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

In a communique jointly signed by chairmen of NLC, TUC and Joint Public Negotiation Council, JOPNC; Godwin Anyan, Orduen Tantenger and Philip Nabgo, respectively, issued at the end of its meeting in Makurdi, labour warned that at the end of the strike, a review would be done for further action.

Labour maintained that the decision to down tools was a result of government’s inability to clear the backlog of salaries, pension and allowances owed workers in the state.

The communique read in part:  “SEC in session noted that the statutory allocation from federal allocation did not stop coming, not to mention the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, the supplementary support from the Federal Government under different sub heads, namely, bailout funds, Paris Club refunds, stabilization funds etc.”

The labour leaders urged elders and stakeholders in the state to prevail on the state government to fully implement the state of emergency declared on salary payments earlier in the year.

Vanguard recalled that two days ago, Governor Ortom had lamented the inability of the government to immediately meet the demands of the workers, explaining that since 2015, the state had been recording short fall in federal allocations which had affected the smooth running of government.

The governor said:  “Since we came into office, we have been having short fall in monthly federal allocation it was as a result of this that we declared state of emergency on salary payment, we are making moves   to get funds to settle the salary arrears.

“Part of the efforts is the ongoing modified table payment been headed by the Deputy Governor and we are sure that at the end of the screening exercise we will get it right, but mind you that we have been able to save over N500million from the monthly wage bill through previous exercise”.