By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
The joint workers union in Oyo State has alerted that the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters is presently withholding allocation for payment of primary school teachers, local government workers in the state.
Also, the unions threatened to embark on industrial action if the 16-month salary arrears owed them were not paid.
Addressing a press conference at the state NLC Secretariat in Ibadan, the spokesman for the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), the NULGE President, Comrade Titilola-Sodo Bayo warned the Ministry against further withholding of the allocations
The unions specifically alleged that the Ministry of withholding minimum of two to three months payment of primary school teachers, local government workers in the state before releasing them to pay workers’ salaries and pensions
“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”he said.
The unions spokesman declared that with the present situation, the unions can no longer guarantee industrial peace with the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters on the treatment of workers and pensioners under its supervision.
“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”.
Comrade Titilola-Sodo Bayo lamented that “it is the first time in the history of the state where three unions will be holding press conference together” on “the poor state of their members in the state”.
“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.”
Speaking further,the unions accused 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 and 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”.
He however gave other demands of the three unions to include 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.
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.
The press conference was attended by the NUT Chairman, Comrade Akano Samuel Oluniyi; and NUP Chairman, Pa. Gbadegesin Akande.