By Yekeen Nurudeen
The leaderships of the two major labour unions in the country, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, have concluded plans to stage rallies in Lagos and Abuja simultaneously on Thursday, February 9, 2017 to demand for good governance in the country and support the war against corruption.
According to the NLC President , Ayuba Wabba, many state governments have not been able to pay workers’ salaries while quite a number of them still have liabilities of pension and gratuity.
He spoke in Abuja on Monday at a press briefing where he lamented that the non-payment of workers’ salary and pensioners’ gratuity portrays a lot of dangers and challenges, noting that some state governors despite receiving huge federal allocations have not taken payment of workers’ salary as priority .
Wabba cited states such as Imo, Oyo, Bayelsa among others as those owing workers, stressing that Imo state alone has 77 months of gratuity liability.
“Gratuity is also a very important aspect of workers’ benefit. In some states, we have pension liability ranging from seven months.
“The worst case is Imo state where we have liability of gratuity of 77 months and the Governor has said that the pensioners are going to get their pension in percentage. He proposed 60 percent which was rejected.
“Basically, this portrays a lot of dangers and challenges. I remember one state governor said he was not elected to pay salary, by the time he took over he has a salary liability of three months and it is now going to six months.
“It is in the context of this that both NLC and TUC would be embarking on the second phase of our campaign for good governance and war against corruption.
“We realised that it is not about how big the budget is but how transparent the process is. Some states receive small allocation but they don’t have issue of salaries and gratuity, yet some states receive much but they have not given priority to payment of salary, pension and gratuity,” he said.
He said the rallies would be used to draw attention to the plights of the Nigerian workers just as he added that some states that are defaulting in the payment of salaries and pensions would be visited by the leaderships of the two Congresses.
The labour leader lamented the absence of good governance in many states, which he said has led to non-payment of workers’ salaries. He however commended Jigawa state for not owing any salary, pension or gratuity.
Speaking on the current increase in the prices of commodities across the country, the NLC President argued that bad governance and corruption were responsible for the situation.
He emphasized that corruption would continue to fight back the system as government wages the war noting that it might not be easy to win the war against corruption.
“The fight against corruption is limited to the center. In the state and local government, you have people who are still behaving as if nothing is happening,” he said