Civil servants in Taraba state have on Thursday, shut down the state secretariat in Jalingo in protest over their unpaid salaries.
The workers under the aegis of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC) were protesting against other irregularities in the payment of salaries of workers and pensions of retirees in the state.
Lamenting that the state government had continued to be insensitive to their plights, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Peter Gambo disclosed that local government workers and teachers had not been paid for eight months, subjecting them to untold hardship.
Mr. Gambo explained the irregularities in payment of their salaries as illegal deductions from salaries and subjection of workers to meaningless screenings and futile verifications by the government.
He also alleged that the union dues were deducted indiscriminately without being remitted to the respective accounts of the unions and that government had given no explanations for this.
The state NLC Chairman said government has shown that the welfare of workers in the state is not its priority. adding that workers have been subjected to all kinds of belittling treatments in the name of screening and verifications that have not yielded any fruits apart from subjecting them to extreme hardships.
He described the consultant handling payment of salaries as being very incompetent and the bank handling payments as clearly confused in carrying out their duties.
The protesters carried placards that read: “One year of impunity and insensitivity must stop’’, “salary is a right not a privilege’’, “Starter Up must go’’ and “pensioners have right to a dignified living.”
Addressing the protesters, the state Head of Service, Mr Samuel Angyu, said that the state government was aware of the workers’ complaints and was already taking steps to address them.
Angyu appealed to the workers to end the protest and make way for “peaceful and civilized discussions on the way forward.”