Labour strike imminent in Benue

Following the expiration yesterday of the 7-day ultimatum issued last week by the Benue State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to the Benue State government on the payment of salaries owed workers in the state, the Chairman of the organisation, Mr. Simon Anchaver has reiterated their desire to proceed on strike if their demands are not met.

Anchaver, who spoke to us, on phone from Makurdi, the state capital, on Monday, said if they fail to reach a compromise with government at a meeting to be held later yesterday (Tuesday), the union would be forced to declare an industrial action. He said the union had also met with government last Friday.

Concerning the threat by some workers in Benue State not to respect any call for strike by labour leaders, Mr Anchaver, has threatened to sanction any worker who refused to join the strike called by the body saying union will move from office to office to enforce the strike.
“If they like, let them not join, we will go and chase them from their offices,” he said.

He also added that the national body of the union was aware of the ultimatum given to the state government to pay all outstanding salaries of workers or face strike action.

It will be recalled that a group under the aegis ‘Benue aggrieved workers’, had described the ultimatum given by the NLC as self serving and a bargaining chip to get money from government and therefore, urged workers not to join, but Mr Anchaver had this to say, “Just leave them, they are just talking, just leave them, everybody will join the strike”.

He described the allegation that he was using strike as a bargain chip and wondered if there was any better alternative to take than embarking on strike.

He said the motive behind the impending strike is to make the Gabriel Suswam-led government pay all the outstanding salaries owed civil servants as it will not be logical for Labour to begin to pester the incoming government about salary arrears when it comes on board.

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