Organised labour in Benue declares strike over unpaid salary arrears
No retreat, no surrender, say Kogi workers
Organised Labour in Benue State yesterday shutdown government offices as they embarked on indefinite strike over non-payment of their salary arrears for the past 11 months.
The Labour unions in the state had embarked on a warning strike two weeks ago to demand the payment of salary arrears to state and council workers.
The warning strike had, however, ended without a positive response from government, which had explained that the delay in payment was caused by paucity of funds.
When The Guardian visited the state Civil Service Secretariat, which houses different ministries, its gate was under lock and key while some labour officials were sighted watching to see if any worker would violate the strike order.
The situation was not different at the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Radio Benue, as well as all secondary and primary schools visited in Makurdi, the state capital.
It was gathered from some local councils, including Katsina-Ala, Gboko, Kwande, Otukpo, Vandikya and Ogbadibo, among others, that none of the offices were open for business.
But, speaking with journalists, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Godwin Anya, denied involvement with government in the disbursement of funds accruing to the state to pay the workers’ wages.
Anya said congress was only notified of what accrued to the state but were not involved in the disbursement, which were always made a ‘strictly government affairs.’
Meanwhile, workers in Kogi State have vowed that the ongoing indefinite strike they embarked on more than 10 days ago has blown open government’s propaganda and gimmicks in the media.
This was contained in a communique jointly signed by the NLC Secretary, Comrade Olakunle Faniyi; Trade Union Congress (TUC) Secretary, Comrade Kolawole James; and the JPSNC Secretary, Comrade A. Abubakar.
This was coming just as Governor Yahaya Bello restated the government’s commitment to continue to dialogue in any industrial dispute.
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