Niger, Labour, Meeting On Workers’ Salaries Reduction End In A Deadlock

Olabode Adaramola

The meeting between some high ranking Officials of the Niger State government and organised labour over the planned reduction in the ‘State Civil’ salaries effective from November, which was held in Minna on Thursday, has ended in a deadlock.

The Government team was led by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, while the Chairmen of the State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Yakubu Garba, and Trade Union Congress (TUC), Tanimu Yunusa, led the team for the organised labour.

Nigerian Tribune gathered that the meeting did not impress representatives of the organized labour unions on the need to reduce workers salaries, resulting in both parties leaving the venue without any agreement.

It was further learnt that the representatives of organised labour, at the meeting, punctured the claim by the government that its income nosedived which necessitated the decision to ask for slash in salaries.

Further checks revealed that the labour meeting that it was aware that the amount generated from the Federation Account Allocation Committee( FAAC) was N4.2 billion with additional receipt of over N400 million just on Wednesday.

According to an insider source, labour claimed that the total salary of civil servants monthly was N2.6 billion, which if deducted from the income, will still leave a reasonable balance for government to carry out other services.

In the alternative, labour was said to have suggested that the salaries and allowances of political office holders should be put withheld for the period the government will solve its financial problems or that the government should secure bank loans to meet its other demands.

The government team was reported to have opposed all the suggestions by labour resulting in the deadlock.

The source said that labour therefore, gave the government a three-point demand which it should meet or face the wrath of workers.

One of the demands was the payment of 100 percent salary to all workers for November and thereafter, refund of the 30 percent salary deductions from last July and the reinstatement of the 80 civil servants said to have been arbitrarily laid off by the state government.

When contacted, the SSG, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, confirmed that the meeting was inconclusive and did not know when it will reconvene.

He said the organised labour unions erepresentatives came to the meeting with a prepared mindset and was not ready to shift ground, adding that labour will determine when the meeting will reconvene.

Also, the state Chairman of the NLC, Garba, said that the meeting was deadlocked and that the congress will meet to decide the next line of action.

National wire however gathered that the NLC had decided to reopen its suspended industrial action and could direct workers to sit at home from next week Wednesday.

Post Author: Friday Ekeoba