By Philip Dzeremo
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Benue have rejected Gov. Samuel Ortom’s appeal against a one-week warning strike proposed to start Sept. 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, Mr Godwin Anya and his TUC counterpart, Mr 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 besides 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 government.
“Supplementary support keeps coming from the Federal Government under various subheads – 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 government to implement the state of emergency it declared on payment of salaries, gratuities and pensions.
Reacting, Special Adviser to Ortom on Media and ICT, Mr Tahav Agerzua, said that the governor “placed all the cards on the table before the labour leaders”.
He opined that 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 Ortom saying that N40 billion was required to settle them.