Local Government workers in Plateau under the aegis of Tripartite Workers Union on Monday embarked on a protest against the non-implementation of financial autonomy and the 18 per cent minimum wage by the State Government.
The workers shut the gates of Secretariats of the 17 local governments in the state, preventing the councils’ chairmen and other staff from entry.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that as early as 7 a.m. the workers converged at the secretariats and barricaded the gates, chanting solidarity songs and barring any official or visitor from gaining access to the building.
The aggrieved workers under the tripartite Union are Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) and National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM).
Mr Arandong Makwin, Plateau Tripartite Union Chairman, said that the statewide protest was embarked upon sequel to failure of the State Government to meet “our demands before the Oct. 30 ultimatum.”
“Sequel to our meeting held on 0ct. 4 at Barkin Ladi, we resolved that the state government should immediately commence the full implementation of financial autonomy, promotion and payment of arrears, 18 per cent minimum wage and annual increment.
“Others include remittance of 10 per cent IGR to local governments by the state as provided by law, 15 per cent of teachers’ salaries from local governments instead of the 100 per cent being deducted as stipulated by law and payment of salaries on/before 25th of every month.
“As we speak, nobody from the government has said anything about our letter of ultimatum dated Oct. 4 nor called us for a discussion.
“Consequently, we decided to stage this protest all over the 17 local governments to press home our demands, which if not met, nobody will be allowed to enter the Secretariats including the chairmen,” Makwin said.
He said the workers had suffered enough due to the non-implementation over the years, saying, “this time around, we are saying no to it as we need the best of welfare as our dues.”
According to him, “This protest will continue until the government meet our demands.”
The State Commissioner of Information, Mr Dan Manjang, said that the state government was taken aback by the action of the local government workers and accused them of being unfair to Gov. Simon Lalong’s administration which he said, had human face.
Manjang said the government was doing it’s best in looking into the worker’s demands toward addressing them for industrial harmony and for the desired growth and development in the state.
“We are appealing to the aggrieved and protesting local government workers to sheath their swords and allow us to look into and address their plights.
“” There is no wisdom in grounding the machinery of government and still expect it to have the expected resources to address your demands.
”We are appealing to them to call off their protest and strike and allow us to sit at a round table to resolve our differences, ” he said.