Workers in some states in the country will soon embark on demonstrations or strike action over unpaid salary arrears in their respective states.
A trustee of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Mr. Fatai Ibrahim, on Friday said NULGE would engage in demonstrations, work to rule and even strike action in states where the governors failed to remit to the local governments their share of the expected last tranche of the Paris Club refund.
Speaking in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during a media briefing by the state branch of NULGE, Ibrahim added that the union would engage governors of the states that fail to remit the funds to the local government, adding that where the engagements, negotiations and dialogue fail, the union would embark on strike action to get the governors accede to the workers’ demands.
Also, the state Chairman of NULGE, Alhaji Salihu Yusuf, has urged Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to ensure that the share of the local governments was paid to them when the state gets the final tranche of the Paris Club refund. He also stressed that the payment of some of the arrears being owed them would greatly alleviate their plight.
He said, “The Kwara State Governor has been saying that local governments will not benefit from the expected Paris Club refund and that we should not be expecting that arrears of salaries being owed workers in various local governments across the state would be paid from the Paris Club refunds.
“Other states are declaring certain percentages in favour of their local governments, why should Kwara State be an exception?”
He also urged the state House of Assembly to vote in favour of local government autonomy to create genuine development at the grass roots, adding that the governor should not wait until all LG workers were dead due to poverty and hardship before he came to their aid.
He also said the payment of junior secondary school teachers’ salaries from the local government allocation through the Joint Account Allocation Committee was responsible for the about 10 months’ arrears of salaries in local governments, adding that the local governments should be freed from that burden.
But the governor, while responding, said the state had accessed 50 per cent of the refund, adding that arrangement was on to end salary crisis in the 16 local government areas of the state.
He said he had met with the local government chairmen with the aim of identifying their problems and finding possible solutions to them.
He said, “What we are doing is to find a permanent solution to the problem. Giving them funds to clear the backlog of salaries is not the solution, but to find the means of improving their revenue base because of the continued drop in federal allocation.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Teachers in Kwara State has given the state government an ultimatum to address some lingering labour issues in the state before December 31, 2017, or else the union would not guarantee the resumption of teachers when schools resume on January 8, 2018.
The teachers, in a communiqué after the meeting of the state executive council, on Friday, stated that the labour issues bordered mainly on the payment of salary arrears, the position of the state government not to use the Paris Club refund to offset the salary arrears of its members as earlier pledged, allegedly, at different forums and refusal to implement promotion arrears with its attendant financial backing from 2015 till date.
The communiqué, signed by the state NUT Chairman, Alhaji Musa Abubakar, and the state NUT Secretary, Mr. Ola Idris, partly read, “In view of these, the House resolved that these issues must immediately be addressed before the end of 2017, otherwise, the union cannot guarantee resumption of our members on January 8, 2018.
But the state government has urged the teachers to embrace dialogue, adding that strike was never a good way to address industrial issues.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Babatunde Ajeigbe, in an interview with journalists, stated that the governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, was deeply concerned and committed to the welfare of the residents of the state, including teachers, saying the outstanding payment due to the drop in federal allocation. – Punch.