Bauchi State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress has given the Bauchi State Government one week ultimatum to resolve the problems on pending workers’ salaries and other entitlements in the state or face indefinite strike.
The State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Danjuma Saleh, while giving the ultimatum during a press conference, held at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Teachers in Bauchi, said the union may take a line of action that will not guarantee industrial harmony in the state
According to him, the union after a meeting of the State Administrative Council (SAC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state, resolved to draw the attention of the government to the myriads of complaints received by the state council on the irregular payment of workers’ monthly salaries.
Other actions of the state government include the removal of large number of workers from the payroll, cutting of huge portion of some categories of staff allowances for the month of June and July 2020, especially those in the health sector.
Comrade Saleh added that several efforts were made officially for the authorities to restore the salaries of omitted staff and allowances, some of which are over six months, but all fell on deaf ears.
The NLC chairman explained that over 10,000 workers could not access their July salaries which the union alleged that it is an attempt to retrench workers in the state.
He said that it is mind boggling that workers from some important MDAs such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism,Bauchi Radio Corporation (BRC), Specialist Hospital, Hospital Management Board, Ministry of Environment, State Primary Health Care Development Agency, House of Assembly were denied June and July 2020 salaries while 42 staff from Toro Local government Authorities and 74 PHC staff from Bogoro were denied April 2020 salaries.
According to him, “It is painful and mind upsetting when other state governments are distributing palliative across the country to cushion the effect of COVID 19 pandemic, but on the other hand, people are denied their legitimate earnings and salaries in the state”.
The labour leader said, “The meeting reviewed the activities of DYNATECH SYSTEM SOLUTION consulting firm since their engagement to handle the issues of salaries and payroll in the state and conclude that they lack the capacity to undertake the job and we have lost confidence in their operations.We are fully aware that their job could be effectively handled by trained staff within the state service.It, therefore, amounts to waste of resources to engage another unqualified firm to handle same issue while experienced workers are made to remain redundant”.
He stated that the non-remittance of constitutional deductions of unions as at and when due is an attempt to weaken the activities of the organised labour and can no longer be accepted, adding that the withholding of third party funds such as the National Housing Fund Contribution and Voluntary Contribution Schemes by unions should be remitted along with salaries since they are deducted from workers salaries with their consent.
The state government in its reaction to the issue through the Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Umaru Sanda Adamu, said that some salaries were not paid because there were several fraudulent activities that the administration was trying to address.
According to him, “some people have been benefitting from these fraudulent acts and would not want to see it end. We will not for once deny any worker his or her legitimate salary without any reason. Whosoever is collecting salary illegally are the ones complaining and we are trying to block such leakages”.
The commissioner debunked the allegation that the state government was trying to reduce the number of workers in the state, saying however that the administration has embarked on sanitizing the pay and nominal rolls of government which has identified certain anomalies.
He added, “Salaries of some workers were not paid or were delayed because there were several issues with the payroll and nominal roll. For instance, some workers do no not have date of birth, some have changed places of work but were still on active service and so on, but still receive salaries.
He added, “Those number of people wherever we find such anomalies, we stop their salary until genuine reasons are given, some unscrupulous civil servants were collecting several salaries”.