The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC in Benue have rejected Governor Samuel Ortom’s appeal against a one-week warning strike proposed to start September 5.
The warning strike is the first step by the workers who have declared a labour dispute with the state government over the non-payment of salaries.
The workers, in a communique jointly signed by the NLC Chairman, Godwin Anya, and his TUC counterpart, Ordue Tartenger, declared that the governor’s appeal was “unacceptable.”
“His appeal is predicated on the prevailing economic situation, but the state has not stopped receiving statutory allocations from the federation account. This is beside Internally Generated Revenue and other revenue receipts from the federal government.
“He appealed for understanding without any offer; other allocations from the federal government and other revenue sources are still available to the government.
“Supplementary support keeps coming from the Federal Government under various sub-heads – bailout, stabilization, Paris Club refunds, among others,” the workers said.
The unions, therefore, declared Tuesday, September 5 – Wednesday, September 13 for the strike, and advised the government to implement the state of emergency it declared on payment of salaries, gratuities and pensions.
Reacting, Special Adviser to Mr. Ortom on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua, said the governor “placed all the cards on the table before the labour leaders”.
He said the strike was not the solution because it would not bring the money needed to pay the salaries and arrears being demanded.
NAN reports that the Benue workers are owed eight months salaries, with Mr. Ortom saying that N40 billion was required to settle them.