The Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Plateau chapter, Jibrin Banchir, on Sunday said Plateau Government owed N12 billion as retired workers’ gratuities.
Mr. Banchir told journalists in Jos that the amount covered 15 years of arrears.
He, however, commended Governor Simon Lalong for clearing the backlog of workers’ salaries.
The labour leader appealed to the governor to also pay gratuities of retirees, who had served the state since their youthful days.
“We recently met with the governor and we told him that Plateau Government is owing over N12 billion gratuity for a period of 15 years.
“We, therefore, appealed to the state government to explore all possible ways to pay it.
“We are monitoring the Paris Club refund, this is the first tranche, the second, third and fourth tranche will come.
“The Federal Government clearly said that 50 per cent of the Paris Club refund must be used in servicing workers benefits; salaries, pensions and gratuities.
“We are done with the payment of salaries and pensions, and if we get another tranche, we should use it to pay the gratuities,” Mr. Banchir said.
On leave and transport grants owed workers before consolidation in 2013, the labour leader said that the union was negotiating with the state government through the office of Head of Service.
He expressed optimism that the negotiating team would address the issue for the benefits of workers.
The chairman said that although workers and pensioners were still awaiting payment of other entitlements, they are happy salaries and pension arrears have been paid.
“If we look back at the turbulent times we have had, we have no reason not to appreciate the government.
“It is the first time, in more than 15 years, that we have receive December salary in December and we must commend the governor for that,’’ he said.
He recalled that government workers were owed seven month salaries arrears; local government owed three months; state pensioners, nine months and local government pensioners, seven months.
He also appreciated the governor for promoting workers for the first time in nine years.
According to him, some workers even got double promotions because of the governor’s gesture.
“On behalf of the Plateau workers, we appreciate the governor in a very special way and we will reciprocate by putting in our very best in discharging our duties,” he said.