By Joan Nwagwu
The Nasarawa State Government has agreed to pay compensation to the two workers who lost their lives during a rally over protracted labour crisis rocking the state.
The police shot four workers out of which two later died in the rally on July 29.
Shooting occurred as a delegation of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) began talks with the state government over the protracted labour crisis rocking the state.
Gov. Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa State made this known during a reconciliatory meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
The NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and representatives of Nasarawa Government attended the meeting facilitated by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige.
Almakura, represented by Alhaji Yusuf Usman, Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, said the compensation would be according to the Employees Compensation Act.
He said the state government would invoke “no work, no pay” policy on the workers for the months of July and August.
He also said that the state government had since maintained the status quo, adding that both labour and the state government need themselves.
“We have also agreed to pay the shortfalls of the salaries during which the contentious new salary scale was being implemented, ‘’he said.
Earlier, the minister in his remark, said President Muhammadu Buhari frowned at the situation in Nasarawa State.
“So, Mr President in consonance with his power has mandated me to intervene with a view to resolve the crisis. More so, when the issue has resulted in the loss of two lives.
“He has asked me to do the needful so that we can get peace back to Nasarawa State,” he said.
Ngige said the gathering was the Federal Government first leg of conciliatory meeting, adding that it had become necessary because the in-house mediation had failed.
The minister described the death of the two workers during the seeming demonstration in Nasarawa State as unfortunate.
He said he was open to listen to the officials and government of Nasarawa State, take their brief and all supporting document, after which it would meet with the NLC and TUC in the same way.
“If we discovered that the workers do not take procedural steps to embark on strike, it had its own penalties.
“We will appreciate the strike, the Trade Union Act given the power to apprehend the strike. I am sure that after this, we will get peace back to Nasarawa State,” he added.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said employment was a contract where both employers and employees have their rights.
He said it was unfortunate that the state government allowed the crisis to escalate, adding that NLC and TUC tried to nip the crisis in the bud without success.
“All of us must therefore must subject ourselves to the rules and regulations. It is a dispute of rights not of interest.
“ It is on issues that border on remuneration and other labour issues. We pledged that the organised labour will cooperate. We are committed to due process and the laws,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was unable to resolve the issues in contention conclusively as it deferred further discussion to a later date.