Yemisi Ajayi , Ibadan
A joint union of workers in Oyo State has said it can no longer guarantee the industrial peace with the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters over the manner it treats workers and pensioners under it.
The unions including the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) addressing a press conference at the Nigeria Labour Congress secretariat, Yidi, Ibadan express concern over what they termed “the poor state of their members in the state” noting that “it is the first time in the history of the state where three unions hold press conference together”.
A statement jointly signed by the President NULGE, Com. Titilola-Sodo Bayo; Chairman, NUT, Com. Akano Samuel Oluniyi; and Chairman, NUP, Pa. Gbadegesin Akande, accuses the supervisory ministry of witholding the allocations for a minimum of two to three months before releasing them to pay workers’ salaries and pensions.
“While the Oyo State Government disburses its monthly allocations promptly to pay workers and pensioners, the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters hiding under a punitive and self-serving of Joint Account Allocation Committee, JAAC to hold allocations for upwards of two to three months before releasing them to pay workers’ salaries and pensions.
“While the allocations are kept in the banks for unknown reasons, workers and pensioners wallow in undeserved poverty.”
“Right now, while Oyo State Government had paid its workers and pensioners two months salaries and pensions from Paris Club fund and a month allocation, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters is yet to release fund to pay local government workers and pensioners, serving Primary School Teachers and retired Primary School Teachers.”
According to the statement, the Unions accuses the Ministry of claiming that the addition of State Internally Generated Revenue, IGR which was not forthcoming from the State Government was stalling the payment of the arrears while noting that if N2billion needed to be released to pay the arrears and N1.8billion is available, the Ministry should go ahead to use the available fund to pay the arrears until remaining N200million is accessed.
The Unions making a six point demands noted that, henceforth, allocations should not be held again in banks for two or three months upward and that the local government pensioners be placed on 6 percent and 15 percent pension increase like their counterparts in the state.
“From now on, we demand that payment of salaries and pensions of Local government workers/pensioners, serving primary school teachers and retired primary school teachers be made on the first line charge and in full.
“That the subsisting memorandum of understanding entered into by the joint labour centres with the state government in June, 2015 that 100 percent of allocations be dedicated to the payment of salaries and pensions be implemented henceforth by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.
“That, henceforth, allocations should not be held again in banks for upward of two to three months before salaries and pensions are paid. Workers and pensioners should be paid immediately federal allocation is paid.
“That every month, all workers and pensioners who draw their salaries/pensions from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters be paid regularly and promptly.”, the Unions demanded.