Christmas: Bayelsa workers groan over unpaid salaries

Bayelsa on Nigerian map
Bayelsa on Nigerian map

Several civil servants in Bayelsa may have a bleak Christmas as they are yet to be paid their November and December salaries.

This is despite a directive on Wednesday by Governor Seriake Dickson for December salaries to be paid before Christmas.

While many workers received their salaries by Friday, others including some secondary school teachers are yet to be paid.

Workers in some ministries who got their salaries late on Friday besieged ATM machines on Saturday for withdrawals forming long queues that depleted the cash in the machines.

The November salaries of civil servants were delayed due to a stalemate at the October meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee. The money was, however, supposed to have been paid by the second week of December.

Henry James, a public secondary school teacher, said on Saturday that he was yet to get November salary, let alone December.

“It is unfortunate, I am yet to collect anything for November,” he said.

“In the case of teachers, when the salary gets to the Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB) they will send the funds to various school accounts from where the teachers’ accounts are credited.

“Although some of my colleagues have received theirs, a lot of us are still left out and we are already heavily indebted and cannot borrow from people who had given us loans that we have not paid.

Mr. James said the governor’s public directive worsened his situation.

“People I borrowed from to survive till date are already on my neck and they do not believe me because they heard the news,” he said.

In his reaction, the Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Bayelsa chapter, Dinipre Torukeregha, urged civil servants who were yet to receive their December salaries to be patient.

He assured workers that the organised labour was liaising with banks operating in the state to ensure that their alternative banking channels including Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were functional during the yuletide holidays.

He advised civil servants having salary related issues to get in touch with their union representatives.

Mr. Torukeregha, who acknowledged that there were reports that some public servants were yet to get their salaries, applauded the Bayelsa government for paying the outstanding November and December salaries of most workers before Christmas.

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