Despite the threat by the Nasarawa State Chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to declare an indefinite strike by its members if the state government fails to reverse the 50 per cent salary cut for workers, the State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, has maintained that he would not reverse the directive in view of the current economic meltdown affecting the country at large.
The Governor made this disclosure while he addressed some top government officials who paid him Sallah homage at Government House, Lafia, saying that the salary cut was of maximum importance considering the decreasing revenue allocated to the state. He maintained that there was no way he could keep on voting a large amount of the state’s resources as salaries for workers, who who make up only 1 per cent of the state’s population.
Al-Makura decried the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria generally and argued that if workers’ salary were reviewed downward, it would help to create employment opportunities for unemployed graduates.
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He therefore called on workers in the state to accept the new template in good faith and return to work in the interest of the peace in the state.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Nasarawa State branch of the NLC, Abdulahi Adeka, made the position of the congress clear during a peaceful protest by workers in Lafia on Monday, July 4th.
Adeka, who read the union’s resolution at the Government House gate, said the protest was to register the disapproval of the union to the government’s decision to cut salaries. He said:
“If by the close of work today government fails to reverse its decision, the organised labour will be left with no choice than to shut down the state completely.
“The present N18,900 minimum wage as is currently being paid in the state was implemented in compliance with the National Minimum Wage Act. The N18, 900 is a benchmark.
“Therefore, nobody or group of persons has the right to reduce the salary of workers by whatever percentage.”
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The Chairman stated that based on an agreement with the government and in line with the law, the wage of workers in the state needed to be reviewed upward. He explained that President Muhammadu Buhari had already set up a committee to commence the process of an upward review of workers’ salaries and appealed to the governor to emulate the Federal Government.