Offset salaries with bailout, Paris refund loan, NLC urges Borno Government
The Borno chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), on Monday urged Borno Government to channel its bailout and Paris club refund loan to offset workers’ outstanding salaries, leave grants and pensions.
The state Chairman of the NLC, Mr Titus Abana, gave the advice during the 2017 Workers’ Day Celebration in Maiduguri with the theme, “Labour Relation in Economic Recession”, an Appraisal.’’
He also called on the state government to urgently release substantial amount of money to clear the backlog of workers’ demands.
“The state labour movement has watched with keen interest the release and utilisation of the bailout funds and Paris club refunds.
“The Federal Government has directed specifically that the refund should be used in offsetting workers’ outstanding salaries, leave grants and pensions.
“The state workers and pensioners are facing many hardship, due to the biometric, the process has delayed the payment of salaries, gratuities and pensions,’’ Abana said.
He expressed concern that pensioners that had worked to better the lot of the present and future generation were no longer able to pay their rents and the school fees of their children and medical bills.
According to him, some of the workers have been captured in the biometric but are yet to receive any salary since June 2016.
‘’Although some of the civil servants have been captured and started receiving salaries, somehow the payment of salaries stopped.
According to the state state chairman of the union, others are yet to be invited for the capturing.
Abana on the state government to pay back all illegal deductions from workers salaries, adding that ”now that the exercise has been extended to the pensioners, care should also be taken to avoid the mistakes noted at the state level.’’
He also urged officers in the exercise to pay particular attention to the pensioners, who due to old age and are weak, might not be able to withstand some of the rigours of the exercise.
“Comfortable means of capturing them should therefore be devised to avoid unnecessary casualties.
“The labour is therefore calling on government to allow pensions to be paid while the verification is ongoing.
“We urge the state government to remember that it is the civil service that drives the economy of the state and its parastatals, including Housing Corporation, State Hotels and Borno Investment.’’
Abana also called for full implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage to local government and primary school teachers and approval of the 30 per cent CONHESS to health workers in local government areas.
“We recall the state government’s effort at offsetting gratuities of retired workers, through the monthly release of specified amount.
“The workers of Borno will also appreciate the upward review of the monthly gratuity allocation from N150 million to N250 million, as the state government promised.”
He, however, noted that the current rate being paid as pension had been rendered obsolete by the economic reality, occasioned by the current inflationary trend in the country.
“In view of this, we call on the state government to reconsider the upward review of pension paid to retired state workers.’’
Abana further advised the state government to reconsider giving approval to the retirement age of members of staff of tertiary institutions, from the conventional 35 or 60 years to 65 years in service.
He said that labour appreciated the accreditation of the newly created State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, but urged government to inaugurate the agency for the benefit of the public.