PLATEAU State Government will soon act decisively to halt the deterioration of primary school education as a result of the industrial action of local council workers. To this end, it has directed the striking workers to resume work today by 8.00 a.m.
The government’s position was stated by the Commissioner for Local Council and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr. Paul Wai, at a press conference at Government House in Jos at the weekend.
Also, Governor Jonah Jang while receiving the report of a stakeholders’ committee which earlier negotiated with the workers’ leaders, at the weekend, stressed that the international Labour law of “no work, no pay” was already being implemented in the state.
But the chairman, Joint Negotiating Council of the Nigeria Labour Council (NLC), Comrade Yusuf Zambuk, said the directive was not binding on the workers because it was not government that asked them to go on strike.
“Therefore, government cannot call off the strike on their behalf,” he said.
Alluding to negotiations in the past between Labour and government, Wai said: “After appeals by the Elders’ committee they accepted the 55 per cent upward review offered by government but introduced a new condition demanding that all unearned salaries for the period of the strike should be paid knowing full well that it contradicts the existing labour law of no work no pay.
“Following the refusal of the union leaders to call off the strike after accepting the 55 per cent wage increase, it has become necessary for government to take appropriate steps to salvage the local government system and the primary education in the state from total collapse. Indeed, no responsible government will stand by and allow this ugly trend to continue indefinitely.” Wai stated.
Government, according to him, has taken the following measures:
·Local council workers are to report and resume work at 8:00am on Monday, November 12, 2012;
·Government has on compassionate grounds resolved to pay all resuming workers October 2012 salaries;
·Biometric Capture and staff screening shall commence and all local government workers are to submit themselves to the exercise; and
·All workers are assured of safety and security at their duty post.
The committee, led by former military governor, Rear Admiral Samuel Bitrus Atukum (rtd), was constituted by Jang in September and it in turn formed a mediation cteam of 11 elders to negotiate with union leaders.
According to Atukum, the committee made up of senior military and police offices, religious leaders and representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) want government to continue to seek a peaceful solution to the stalemate. He said union based its argument on an earlier government-labour agreement which provided for an increase of salaries whenever there is rise in revenue.
He stated that after negotiation, labour soft-pedaled from its earlier demand of 75 per cent of the N18,000 minimum wage to 55 per cent which government agreed to pay.
But he added that a particular contentious issue brought the negotiation to a deadlock.
Jang promised that government would look diligently into the report. He added that local councils would be perpetual borrowers should they fully implement the N18,000 minimum wage, which would be disastrous to the state economy.
|< Prev||Next >|