By Abubakar LAWAL Lafia
In apparent reaction to a press statement credited to Nasarawa State Government, to the effect that Government has not sacked a single worker from the Nasarawa State Civil Service in the last four and a half years, the Nigeria Labour Congress, Nasarawa State chapter has alleged that, contrary to that , Governor, Umar Al-Makura has sacked over 7000 workers in the state since assuming office in 2011.
The NLC in a press statement, a copy of which was made available to national TRAIL in Lafia, in reaction to earlier press release by the state government aired on the state owned media claiming that no workers has been relieved of his job since inception of the Al-Makura administration, alleged that so many workers have been sacked.
According to the press release, over 7000 workers were unlawful sacked in all the 13 local Governments Areas of the state, also over 100 employees of Nasarawa Transport Services, popularly called “On The Move’, and all workers of Nigeria Newsday, a state owned newspaper as well as staff of Lafia Hotel among others.
On hids part, Governor, Umar Al-makura has reached out to the National President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Waba seeking for his intervention in ongoing strike in his state, but nationalTRAIL Learnt that the Labour leader asked him to go back and negotiate with the striking workers.
The state Chairman of NLC, Comrade Abdullahi Adeka confirmed this report , adding that they were communicated by the National Headquarters as well as government officials that they are going into another negotiation meeting later today, following the Governor’s futile trip to Abuja. Only yesterday, the Government dragged the worlers before the industrial court in Makurdi, Benue state, where they were also directed to exhaust all avenues of negotiation.
The organized labour stated in its release that, at a time many states cannot pay their workers, including Nasarawa state, it is ill advised to embark on flamboyant projects, that have no direct economic benefits to their citizens.
While drawing the attention of Government to the issue of implementation of N18, 900 minimum wage, in line with the new national minimum wage Act 2011, labour argued that it is not a gesture from the State Government, rather the right of workers, but that the nasarawa state Government has consistently refused to implement, besides the deniels of promotions and annual increment as required in public service rule 040202.
They described as a mere propaganda, that workers constitute only one percent of the total population of the state, but consume 95 percent of the statutory allocation, leaving 5 percent for other capital projects, arguing that it was fallacious and misrepresentation of facts , as workers and their dependents constitute more than 70percent of the entire population of the state.
” This”, they argue, “can be testified by the fact that the economic activities in major cities has paralyzed due to the non payment of workers January salaries in the state”.
They further debunked government position that salaries of workers is promptly paid at the end of every 30 working days, saying Government was merely fulfilling its duties, just as the federal Government remits money to her from the federation Accounts every month, from which they pay workers’ salaries.
” Since 2011 Local Government workers in the state have been collecting their salaries based calculations till date, and this is part of what is not acceptable to labour. We have warned that the payment of percentages is not lawful and any responsible government should not even contemplate”, the statement added..
This is even as the state Chairman of the organized labour , Comrade Abdullahi Adeka confirmed to our correspondent that fasting and prayers remain their option , as the state Governor is avoiding meeting with them to resolved issues that has a direct impact on workers only playing around the gallery.
nationalTRAIL authoritatively gathered that series of meetings were held between the organized Labour and Government officials , Members of the state house of assembly and Elder statesmen and Traditional Rulers with a view to a consensus but nothing meaningful come out at the end of the day.