The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has said that 11 state governments have not paid December salaries to their workers.
The President of the NLC, Abdulwahed Omar, who made the comment in an ‘End of Year Message’ stated that three of the states, Benue, Plateau and Osun, are also owing between three to eight months workers’ salary arrears.
Omar called on the workers to vote against any politician who failed to pay workers’ salaries in the 2015 elections.
He said that any governor who was not able to pay the salaries of workers in his state had no justification whatsoever to receive his salaries.
The NLC President also said that the congress had issued a directive to all its state councils to serve ultimatum to their respective government to pay the outstanding arrears of salaries or face a strike.
Omar said that some employees of the Federal Government in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity were being owed between one to three months’ salary areas.
He said, “Collated reports from our state councils indicate that a number of state governments and some Federal MDAs have not paid their workers for December as the year comes to an end.
“Of the 30 states reporting as of the 30th of December, 11 subjected their workers to a Christmas/New Year celebration without the December salary.
“Three of these, Benue, Plateau and Osun, owed their workers arrears of salaries ranging from three to eight months! Some Federal Government employees in the Ministries of Education, Labour and Productivity, among others, are owed arrears of salaries ranging from one to three months.
“We condemn this insensitivity to the welfare of workers. Any State governor, who cannot pay workers their salaries, as and when due, has no moral justification for taking his own salary and allowances.
“We call on workers to massively reject these anti-worker politicians in the 2015 elections. Meanwhile, we direct our State Councils in the three states mentioned above to serve appropriate ultimatums on their government to pay the arrears of salaries or face disruption of services.”
Omar warned the Federal Government against imposition of general austerity measures on the citizenry which could further aggravate the suffering of the ordinary worker.
He said that the most tenable way to manage the current budget under austerity was a drastic reduction of the cost of governance in the country.
He called for a cut in Presidential fleet, the cost of running the State House, a reduction in the number of aides who add no value to governance and political office holders in the country.
Omar who supported the decision to tax the rich advised against any move to sack workers in the society.
“While we appreciate the difficulties brought on by the collapse in oil prices, we caution against the imposition of unselective austerity measures. Already, workers continue to bear the brunt of the devaluation of the Naira.
“We also strongly advise against consideration for rationalisation of staff. We support government initiatives to collect luxury taxes from the rich. More importantly, we are convinced that the surest way to manage the budget under austerity is to reduce the cost of governance.
“Bloated prerequisites of political office holders must be cut. Prerequisites and comfort of politicians need to reflect the reality of the times. Mr President and the state house must lead in this regard.
“The size of the Presidential fleet, the cost of running the State House and the retinue of political jobbers can all be reasonably cut without reducing the effectiveness of the Presidency.” He added
He also condemned what he described as the imposition of exploitative electricity tariff on the citizenry saying such a move could culminate in unpleasant situation as indicated by the recorded protest against the move in some of the cities across the country such as Benin, Enugu, Lagos and Kano.