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Labour urges intervention over salaries slash by 50 per cent


The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged Federal Government to intervene over the cut of workers’ salary by 50 percent by the governors of Benue, Imo and Nasarawa states.

Labour describe the act as an abuse of law by the states government to threatening sack of workers who embark on strike saying whosoever rightly protested the criminal 50 per cent wage cut would be replace with “fresh graduates”.

Speaking recently the NLC the Chairman of IndustriALL Global Union, Sub-Saharan Africa, Issa Aremu, said the there is need to respect Nigeria labour law, stop wage cut and arbitrary redeployment of workers to farms as a way of avoiding full pay.

“Labour matters are on the exclusive Federal list of 1999 constitution. It is therefore, illegal and unconstitutional for these governors as employers of labour to arbitrarily violate the terms of contract of their workers with respect to pay and work schedule,” he explained.

He said Nasarawa state, Governor Tanko Al-Makura had arbitrarily cut workers’ pay by 50 per cent and also threatened to sack striking workers who rightly protested his criminal 50 per cent wage cut and replace them with “fresh graduates”.

Aremu stated: “No colonial governor during the hated British colonialism so verbally casualized the dignity of labour with respect to contracts of employment on pay and tenure as Governor, Tanko Al-Makura unacceptably did.”

He said back to land for agriculture which was never be part of Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, campaign promises, has now been announced as the reduction of normal working days from five to three days a week, as well as slash workers monthly salaries.

In June, Benue State government had also declared Friday of every week a work free day to enable workers in the state to go and work on their farms.

He added: “The state government wrongly claimed the illegal move would aid as many workers as possible “To produce enough food to feed their families in the face of the current economic downturn, which has made the regular payment of salaries a major challenge.”

He said no law under 1999 Constitution which the governors took the oath of office explicitly guarantees the sanctity of public service at both Federal and state levels with respect to adequate security of tenure, hours of work, health and safety, adequate remunerations and pensions. Section 209 Of the Constitution guarantees decent work of the civil servants in the public service of a State and do not subject it to the whims of executive governors.

Aremu urged the Head of Service of the federation as well as heads of service of the 36 states to speak out in defense of the rights of public servants against serial attacks of some states’ Governors.

He noted: “It is bad governance on the part of most governors to shift the burden of declining revenue on their workforce while still maintaining the primitive huge cost of executive overhead. Public servants are expected to deliver public service with respect to education, health, etc. To therefore transform civil servants into overnight farmers without fresh letters of appointments as part of some dubious “cost-saving measures” is to proclaim end of public work and public service by these governors and by implication turn governance which is a serious business into an unacceptable joke.”

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