Unpaid gratuities and Salaries : NLC, TLC to launch protest on Thursday

The leaderships of the two major labour unions, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have concluded plans to stage rallies in Lagos and Abuja simultaneously on Thursday, February 9, to demand for good governance in the country and support the war against corruption.

According to NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, many state governments have not been able to pay workers’ salaries while quite a number of them still have liabilities of pension and gratuity. He added that the labour bodies would not join any bandwagon in its approach.

Wabba said the rallies have been defined within the context of good governance and war against corruption, which, he noted, is already fighting back. He spoke in Abuja yesterday at a press briefing where he lamented that the non-payment of workers’ salaries and pensioners’ gratuity portrays a lot of dangers and challenges, noting that some state governors, despite receiving huge federal allocation, have not seen payment of workers’ salaries as priority.

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The NLC president cited states such as Imo, Oyo, and Bayelsa among others as those owing workers, stressing that Imo alone has 77 months of gratuity liability. “Gratuity is also a very important aspect of workers’ benefits.

In some states, we have pension liability ranging from seven months. The worst case is Imo State, where we have liability of gratuity of 77 months and the governor has said that the pensioners are going to get their pension in percentage. He proposed 60 per cent, which was rejected.

“Basically, this portrays a lot of dangers and challenges. I remember one state governor said he was not elected to pay salary. By the time he took over, he has a backlog of three months salary and it is now going to six months.

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“It is in the context of this that both the NLC and TUC would be embarking on the second phase of our campaign for good governance and war against corruption. We realised that it is not about how big the budget is, but how transparent the process is. Some states receive small allocation, but they don’t have issue of salaries and gratuity, yet some states receive much, but they have not given priority to payment of salary, pension and gratuity,” he said.

Wabba said the rallies would be used to draw attention to the plights of the Nigerian workers just as he added that some states that are defaulting in the payment of salaries and pensions would be visited by leaderships of the two unions. Speaking on the current increase in the prices of commodities across the country, the NLC President argued that bad governance and corruption were responsible for the situation. He emphasised that corruption would continue to fight back at the system as government wages the war, noting that it might not be easy to win the war against corruption.

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“The fight against corruption is limited to the centre. In the state and local governments, you have people who are still behaving as if nothing is happening,” he said.

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