Barely two days to the ultimatum given to the Benue State Government by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress Benue State chapter, to clear the Backlogs of salaries owed workers or faced industrial action, governor Samuel Ortom yesterday appealed to Labour not to embark on strike but still give him little time.
Ortom who spoke with newsmen shortly after a meeting with labour leaders at the new banquet hall , government house, Makurdi explained that his administration is working hard towards addressing the problem of salary arrears.
The governor explained that since 2015, the state has been having short fall in federal allocation the situation, he said had affected the running of government.
He promised that his government will not rest on its oars to explore necessary avenues to raise money to settle all the arrears of salaries and pension allowances.
“Since we came into office, we have been having short fall in monthly federal allocation and as a result of this, we declared state of emergency on salary payment, we are making moved to get funds to settle the salary arrears.”
“Part of the efforts is the on going modified table payment been headed by the deputy governor and we are sure that at the end of the screening exercise we will get it right, because already we have recover over N500million from the screening exercise”.
The state chairman Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Godwin Anya also told newsmen that, the state governor enumerated his challenges to labour leaders but we will first of all meet with the union state executives where decision would be taken whether to embark on strike or not.
it could be recalled that the state chapter of Nigeria Labor Congress, NLC, on August 4th, 2016 gave the state up to August ending to clear the backlogs of salary arrears owed state workers or face industrial action.
This was Part of the communique issued at the end of the meeting.
“SEC in session exhaustively deliberated on the issue regarding members welfare, most especially the non payment of salary arrears, pensions and gratuity, as well as the prompt payment of same by the Benue State Government.
The salary situation has brought untold hardship on our members, leading to inability of workers and pensioners, to meet their obligations like food, payment of children’s school fees, settlement of medical bills and even death of some members.”
the State Government should conclude all the ongoing screening exercise on or before 31st August, 2017, and clear all outstanding arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuity; “Pay salaries, pensions and gratuity as at when due” adding that failure to meet the demands, the Organized Labour will be forced to embark on an indefinite strike”