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Workers set for strike in 18 states over unpaid salaries

By The Citizen
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There are strong indications that workers in 18 states may start an indefinite strike on Monday over unpaid salaries.

The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Thursday in Abuja, said that the congress had sent its task force team to various geo-political zones of the country.

According to him, the strike has started in Plateau State, adding that a similar exercise will begin in Cross River State and others on Monday.

The National Administrative Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress had, on March 19, 2015, set up a task force to pursue payment of salary arrears owed workers by some state governments.

The report of the task force, which was exclusively obtained by our correspondent, showed that 19 states are owing salaries and pensions.

Ozo-Eson told our correspondent that the NLC had sent its task forces to the affected states and directed those who were being owed to begin strike.

He said, 'The various Task Forces are working. Plateau is on strike, Cross Rivers is going on Monday; the various task forces are working.

'A team is leaving for Benue to commence action; they are now free to commence action and we are supporting them.'

The report of the Task Force of the NLC revealed that while some of the states had paid salaries of workers up to date, they were owing arrears of pensions running into months.

The states owing salaries or pensions are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Ekiti, Imo, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, and Kogi.

Others are Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers and Zamfara states.

However, a look at the report reveals that Adamawa, Anambra, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Edo, the FCT, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Sokoto and Taraba are not indebted to their workers.

The report stated that Abia State had not paid salaries of workers of the State Teaching Hospital for nine months.

The state is also said to be owing workers of the Hospital Management Board eight months' salary; Abia State Universal Basic Education Board, six months; Abia State Polytechnic, five months; local government workers, four months; and teachers, three months' salary arrears.

It was stated that while Enugu State had paid salaries of civil servants up to date, parastatals were owed 12 months' salaries and pension and gratuity remain unpaid since 2010.

Others states owing are Osun State with six months' salary and pension arrears; Plateau with six months salaries and seven months pension; Benue with five months salaries and four months pension arrears; Kogi with four months of pension and salary arrears; and Oyo which owes three months salaries and between five and 11 months of pension arrears.

Also among the states which are likely to owe salaries and pension of workers into the incoming administration on May 29 are Ekiti with three months of unpaid salaries.

Jigawa is owing judiciary workers a month salary arrears in 2015.

Ondo owes one month salary and pension, while Ogun is owing one month salary and 52 months of unremitted pension deductions to the Pension Fund Administration.

Although Zamfara State has paid workers' salaries up to date, the salaries of workers who were recruited in 2014 have not been paid.

The NLC Task Force also stated that Rivers State owes one month of workers' salaries and three months of pension while Kano has yet to pay newly employed teachers for three months.

However, the Task Force report was silent on the status of Yobe and Ebonyi on the ground that there was no information on them. - Punch.