As a result of non payment of salaries, council workers in Abia State are set to embark on strike to press home their demand.
The workers have not been paid their May, June and July 2012 salaries. On Tuesday last week, the workers’ union declared a one week warning strike which expires tomorrow.
The Chairman of the state Chapter of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Comrade Eze Idima said the workers will embark on a full blown strike if the salaries are not paid at the expiration of the ultimatum.
He added that the union is still dialoguing with the Committee headed by the Chief of Staff to the governor, Chief Cosmas Ndukwe, charged with the task of reviewing the biometric system, on a way forward.
A cross section of workers insists that the non payment of salaries have taken a toll on them as they find it difficult to commute to work to work.
A visit to most council secretariats in the state revealed the workers now stroll in to log on to the biometric system and return to their homes.
247Ureports.com learnt that the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs released some amount of money for the 17 local councils for the payment of the May 2012 salaries.” The amount released could not even pay half salaries to workers. The NULGE rejected the method of issuing salaries by installments to the councils in the state,” Sources told 247Ureports.com
Government Houses sources blamed the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Emma Nwabuko for the situation. Since the introduction of the biometric data system in the 17 local councils, Nwabuko is said to be in the habit of misinforming the state government on the issue of payment of salaries through the system.
According to the source, the Commissioner has created the impression that those being owed salaries are people who failed to meet up with the 50% minimum attendance. Workers have accused the state government of using the biometric system as a ploy to delay their salaries.
“People like Nwabuko should be sacked or redeployed. He has caused a lot of damage to the local government system in the state. Most times, Cheques for salaries are unnecessarily delayed,” the source stated.
Most workers in the state blame the late payment of salaries to council workers on the NULGE. They alleged that the union has been unable to fulfill its mandate of representing the interest of workers. According to them, salaries of workers are not being paid on time, not to talk of leave allowances and other entitlements of workers including staff claims which they described as a hard to come by.
To stem the irregular payment of salaries, Mr. Onyedika Nkwachukwu, a staff of one of the councils in Abia North Senatorial zone, said NULGE should sit up from its present slumber on the issue of tackling matters affecting workers. “Most of the Union officials have compromised their positions and cannot fight for the interest of workers,” she alleged.