From Esther Akaa, Lafia and Odeh Ogaji, Jalingo
Workers in Nasarawa State have expressed dissatisfaction over the non-implementation of their promotions and annual salary increment by the state government since 2011.
The workers at both the State and Local Government Areas (LGAs) made their feelings known on Saturday in Lafia as they joined their courterparts in other parts of the world to commemorate the 2021 International Workers Day.
Speaking on this year’s theme: COVID-19 pandemic, social and economic crisis, challenges for decent jobs, social protection and peoples’ welfare, the state Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Yusuf Iya, said the state government has failed to implement promotions and annual increments for workers in the state, a situation which he said has brought untold hardships among workers in the state.
Comrade Iya said that despite the provisions in the state public service rules which provides that workers should get annual increments after 12 months and be promoted after two, three or four years, workers were still not promoted while others were currently receiving their salaries in percentages.
The NLC boss noted that workers at the LGAs level were the most affected with challenges of percentage payment, lack of promotions, non payment of gratuity, lack of training, delay in payment among others.
“This has adversely affected seniority and productivity in the service, hence the government should consider addressing it urgently in the interest of industrial peace and harmony.
“The policy is considered unconstitutional, retrogressive, counterproductive and against the principle of natural justice and would be resisted by the union,” he said.
He however, commended Governor Abdullahi Sule for abolishing percentage payment at the state level and appealed to him to confirm the appointments of casual staff in the payroll of the state government.
Also speaking, the state Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Mohammed Umar-Doma, said that workers employed five to six years ago into the service were yet to be confirmed and called on the government to urgently confirm them.
Comrade Umar-Doma called on government to dispose the government quarters to occupants of the houses as part of welfare package to better the living condition of civil servants in the state.
He commended the governor for restoring full payment of salaries for workers and pensioners at the state level and appealed to him to look into the case of LGA staff and pensioners with a view of addressing their challenges.
Responding, the state Governor, Engr Abdullahi Sule, represented by the state Head of Civil Service, Mr Nicholas Aboki, said government was working assiduously to ensure the implementation of promotions among other issues affecting workers in the state.
“We have constituted a committee to look into the issue of the implementation of promotions, salary arrears in the state for public service and I am happy to note that the committee has submitted its report and government is already implementing the report and it’s recommendations.
“It is for this reason that the appropriate machinary are been put in place to avoid further backlog of promotion and attendant accumulation of arrears. Accordingly the office of the Head of the Civil Service and the Civil Service Commission are hereby mandated to commence preparation of promotion examinations across the service,” he said.
The governor revealed that the state civil service has formalised the appointments of 2,250 teachers in the state as well as other categories of workers in the state, saying they have started enjoying full salaries with no outstanding arrears.
He appealed to local government workers to be patient as government was working to address the issues of
payment of salaries and allowances of local government employees as well as accumulated arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuity.
Relatedly, workers in Taraba State have called on the state government to pay owed local government workers and teachers’ salaries in order to alleviate their sufferings.
This call was made by the Taraba State NLC chapter Chairman, Comrade Peter Jedel during this year’s celebration of Workers Day at the Rev. Jolly Nyame Stadium in Jalingo, the state capital.
According to Jedel, payment of the owed salaries would reduce the workers’ huge suffering ocasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, commended the state government for prompt payment of civil servants and infrastructural development of the state roads among other social amenities that have direct bearing on people of the state.
The NLC chairman who called for training and re-training of workers to boost capacity reminded Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State to direct the release of motorcycles and tricycles approved for workers in 2020. He stressed that the distribution will motivate workers and lead to increased productivity.
In his remark, Chairman, TUC, Taraba State chapter, Comrade Sule Abasu, said Governor Ishaku has achieved in areas people of the state needed most such as water, roads infrastructure and security of lives and property. He added that despite challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, Taraba state still enjoyed unprecedented prompt payment of workers salaries.
Comrade Abasu appealed to Governor Ishaku to implement the new minimum wage which he said is a constitutional right of civil servants. He stressed that it would boast performance of workers.
Abasu who commended security agencies in Taraba state for being steadfast appealed to them not to relent in protecting lives and property. He also called on people of the state to support security agencies to rid Taraba of criminal elements by giving useful information to security agencies.
Speaking, Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku who was represented by the state Head of Service, Mrs Suzy Nathans, expressed profound gratitude to Taraba workers for the maximum cooperation given his administration.
Governor Ishaku charged civil servants in the state not to indulge in excess borrowing and urged them to imbibe financial discipline, in order to survive even with limited resources.
The governor said he places high premium and commitment to workers welfare, in order to motivate them to put in their best.
He further directed civil servants on grade level 1-12 who were asked to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic to resume work with immediate effect. He stressed that a committee on payroll had commenced work, therefore, directors and concerned authorities should comply and give the committee maximum cooperation to do their job.