The organized labour in Kogi has canceled the celebration of this year’s May Day in the state in protest over the non-payment of workers’ salaries and monthly pensions of retirees.
In a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday in Lokoja, both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said the decision was taken in solidarity with the affected workers and pensioners.
The statement was jointly signed by the state Chairman of the NLC, Mr Onu Edoka and his TUC counterpart, Ranti Ojo.
According to unions, the non-payment of salary to a large number of workers and pensioners over the past 14 months has destroyed the civil service and the workforce of the state.
They expressed concern over the increasing hardship being faced by workers and pensioners affected by outcome of the screening exercise conducted by the state government.
“The non-payment of salary and pension, has led to the loss of lives and also brought untold hardship to workers in Kogi State,” they noted.
They unions also decried the refusal by government to make available to the organised labour, copy of the report of the screening appeal committee, describing the measure as a deliberate move to prevent the labour from taking a position.
“In the face of all these negative happenings, it is therefore advisable for workers not to make themselves available for any act of molestation, harassment and intimidation by any security agency.
“All affiliate unions are to adhere strictly to this resolution, which is in solidarity with workers and pensioners that have not been paid in the last 14 months, including those that have lost their lives during the period,” they said.
In his reaction to the complaints, Kingsley Fanwo, Director – General, Media and Strategy, said government would convene a meeting of stakeholders soon to take a common position on the report of the staff screening and verification committee.
He explained that the objective of the screening was not to sack workers, but reform the civil service for optimum performance.
He however said that those who secured employment with fake documents would not be spared.
The Federal Government has declared May 1 as public holiday in line with the United Nations decision that the day be set aside every year to celebrate and appreciate workers worldwide.