PHOTO FILE: Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (centre) with some children of Enugu State who visited the Government House, Enugu to celebrate 2016 Children’s Day with the governor
Local Government workers in Enugu State, on Tuesday, gave reasons why the industrial action declared over the non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage has persisted saying the state government has refused to address the contentious issues that necessitated the strike.
The strike, which has lasted for two weeks, strike has grounded activities in all the public primary schools, local government system, as well as the primary healthcare.
The Primary schools were planning to commence third-term examination before the teachers withdrew their services.
They made the disclosure at a joint press briefing addressed by the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT.
NULGE President, Comrade Kenneth Ugwueze told the media that two weeks into the strike, the local government chairmen were yet to take positive action.
“We are still demanding that minimum wage and consequential adjustments be paid to workers.
“This is the first time in the history of old Anambra State that we have salary disparity among civil servants in the State.
“Some categories of workers are being paid for over two years now, whereas others are not despite the fact that monthly allocation has improved within this period.
“So, we appeal to the Government to do the needful because even the N30,000 is due for review, it’s not enough. The Government should look into our plight.
Minimum wage is an act of the National Assembly, it’s not a jamboree, it’s meant to close the gap being created by galloping inflation.”
Also speaking the State Chairman of NUT, Comrade Theophilus Odo recalled that on 21st of July, they had issued a strike notice, during which they made it clear that “the patience of the workers has run out, it has been over-stretched
“We made it clear that after 7 days, we will down tools, so on the 28 of July, the workers downed tools.
“It’s now two weeks but the government is yet to come up to do anything. It is based on this that we are again appealing to the Governor to prevail on the local government chairmen to do the needful.
“The workers are not happy being on strike, but they are helpless.
“So, the leadership of NUT and NULGE are appealing to the Government to look into this matter without further delay for industrial harmony to continue in the State.”
Meanwhile when asked whether the Government had not reached out since the action commenced, the labour leaders said a meeting was held during which the Government demanded that they suspend the strike before any negotiation could commence.
The unionists, however, said their members rejected such a condition.
They disclosed that Government said it approved minimum wage for levels 1-6 in the local government service, which they said constituted less than 10 percent of the local government workforce.