Another round of strike — this time by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) — is imminent, as the Benue State Chapter of the congress, has given the state government a seven-day ultimatum to pay all outstanding salaries in arrears owed to all categories of core public servants in the state.
In a letter signed by the state NLC chairman, Comrade Simon Anchaver and secretary, Comrade Jumpa Emmanuel, the Labour body also warned that if the government fails to address the perennial issues of nonpayment of all salaries in arrears, it will have no other option than to declare a trade dispute with the Governor Gabriel Suswam’s led administration.
But in a swift reaction, the state government said it was yet to recieve any letter of ultimatum from the NLC in the state.
James Uloko, Director on Media and Public Affairs to Governor Suswam, said government was yet to receive any such letter indicating the seven days ultimatum for the government to accede to NLC demand.
“As I speak to you now, the state executives council are in a meeting but we don’t have knowledge of the letter yet. We have not received any such letter from NLC,” he said in a phone chat.
Anchaver, in the letter made available to the press, noted that labour leadership in the state took the division in consultation with its national secretariat which directed that the ultimatum commencing April 14 and to expire on April 21 be served on the state government.
He lamented the undulated and irregular salary payment which had characterized the workforce in the state for over eight months now, a development which has left most ministries and parastatals several months in arrears ranging between four and six months.
The Labour body argued that such manner and mode of salary payment have exposed the working class to a lot of untold hardship and difficulties which adverse effect pauperize workers, leading to some individuals early death as well as other forms of diseases.
According to the letter, “all outstanding salaries in arrears owed to all categories of core public servants including primary school teachers, local government staff as well as pensioners be paid forthwith within the time frame of the ultimatum.”
“That the salary for the month of March, 2015 shall be the payment of the full negotiated national minimum wage agreed and implemented in the state having exhausted the concessionary period of levy, donation and contribution,” the letter read in part.