By Mike Adeyemi
Members of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Kwara State chapter on Saturday expressed disappointment over the non-payment of their salary arrears by the present administration.
The arrears are accumulation of salaries owed the LG workers by the previous administration.
A cross section of Local Government workers who spoke with our medium on condition of anonymity said all pleas to the government on the issue has continued to fall on deaf ears.
A top NULGE official in the state said the state government had always attributed dwindling federal allocation to the state to its inability to pay the salary arrears.
“The accumulated salary arrears has not been paid till date. They said there is no money. We have always engaged and pleaded with the state government over the lingering staff arrears, but the excuse has always been shortfall in allocation,” he added.
Reacting to the state government’s claim that it has commenced payment of N30,000 minimum wage to Kwara workers, the source said the statement by government on the issue is misleading and flawed.
“We are still negotiating with the Kwara State government on the issue of minimum wage. Government claimed they have stated paying level 1 to 6, up till today they have not been paid because there is no document to show for it.
“We asked government about the formula for the said payment. But, there is nothing to show for it. We don’t believe they are paying. What we saw recently was an increment in salary of about N5,000. We cannot assumed that to be minimum wage.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Trade (TUC), has not been informed. So that can’t be agreed to be a minimum wage payment,” he stressed.
Similarly, another top echelon of NULGE who pleaded not to have his name in print, said the government has been economical with truth on the issue of minimum wage.
“To us Kwara State government has not commenced payment of minimum wage to workers. The N30,000 minimum wage negotiations is still ongoing between the NLC and the government. The state government is in court challenging NLC on local government.
“They claimed to have started payment to level 1-6 workers, but that cannot be recognized as minimum wage payment. Until we sit together and talk, the purported payments is illegal. What we had now is like government is giving handout to staff on level 1-6 cadre,” the NULGE boss said.
However, a Local Government staff from Moro Local Government explained that the delay in the July salary was caused by late receipt of federal allocation.
“Yes, we didn’t get July before Sallah as many would have expected. But we the Joint Account Committee(JAC) meeting, was held today instead of two days after FAAC.
“The issue of minimum wage is the sole responsibility of the NLC and TUC. As I speak with you now, there hasn’t been any agreement between the NLC and the government.
“In as much government tries to add something to the salary of level 1-6 without table, it amounts to a flaw. We want to appeal to government for the full implementation. Level 9 and above have not enjoy the minimum wage, ” the source further said.