Thursday, November 17, 2016 11:22 pm
The workers’ movement in Oyo State on Thursday advised the state government to immediately stop its campaign to half the salaries of workers or risk spontaneous social action against the policy.
The movement comprising Trade Union Congress, Nigeria Labour Congress and Joint Public Service Negotiation Council (JNC), gave the advice in a statement signed by Comrade Emelieze Andrew, the state TUC Chairman.
Andrew said in the statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, that the policy amounted to paying N9,000 minimum wage as against the statutory N18,000.
According to him, the state government is owing salary and pension arrears from May to date.
“We are worried about the delay in the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions. We are disturbed that government is also planning to half the salary arrears owed to workers.
“As a matter of fact, in our past meetings with government, they had tried to market the callous idea to us but we vehemently condemned it.’’
The chairman said that the government owed retirees N33 billion arrears of gratuities which it had not paid in the past four years.
He said that against the background of a distressed economy, any attempt to reduce workers’ salaries would amount to double tragedy and punishment of workers, adding that it would provoke industrial unrest in the state.
Andrew noted that the government and labour had signed a Memorandum of Understanding indicating that workers would continue to enjoy full pay and that the work force would not be reduced.
He, therefore, urged the state workers and civil society to brace up for immediate social action against the government should it decide to “pronounce any ugly policy to reduce workers’ salaries’’.
“The leadership of our labour movement at the national level is called upon also to evoke a national response to the issue of state governments not being able to pay workers effectively.’’
“Non-payment of workers’ salaries is a demonstration of incompetence, he said, and advised overnors who are unable to pay salaries to resign. (NAN)