Apparently not moved by “WE BREAK RAMADAN FAST WITH ONLY WATER” plea from striking state employees, Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura has ordered that only civil servants who defiled the ongoing strike should be paid their June salaries. He maintained that this was in line with the labor law.
This was contained in a statement signed by Mr Thomas Ogiri, State Head of Civil Service, on Wednesday in Lafia.
“It states that, any worker who takes part in a strike is not entitled to any wages or remuneration throughout the period of the strike.’’
In his reaction, Ahmed Naibi, Secretary of the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said the government does not have the right to invoke such policy, adding that the workers involved were on a legitimate labor strike. He said the union would resist measures by the state government to intimidate the officials of the union and its members into suspending the strike.
According to him, government can only invoke such policy if workers absconded from duty for no just course. Naibi added that the law has given the organised labour the right to embark on strike to press home their demands.
“The union is taken inventory of the few staff still reporting to their duty post and would sanction them at the most appropriate time,” he said.
He, therefore, called on the workers to ignore whatever threat by the government and continue to remain at home until the government meets all their demands.
The state’s organised labour made up of TUC and Labour congress had embarked on strike since May 12, demanding for payment of outstanding salary arrears and promotion.
WE BREAK RAMADAN FAST WITH ONLY WATER
Employees of Nasarawa State Government in Nigeria, currently on indefinite strike since May 12, said on earlier that non-payment of their salaries makes them to break Ramadan fast with only water. Mr Bala Umar, Chairman of the workers’ union says the workers embarked on the indefinite strike over non-payment of their three months’ salary arrears and other entitlements. They are said to also be demanding regular promotion of workers, among others.
The state Govornor Tanko Al-Makura, said, on May 29, that the employees were not on strike as far as he was concerned. He warned the workers to resume work and said those who failed to return to work did so at their own risk.
Workers who pleaded anonymity for fear of recrimination accused the state government of neglecting its civil servants. They appealed to Govornor Tanko Al-Makura to meet the workers’ demands to alleviate their suffering and end the strike.
Alhaji Garba Audu, said:
“I am a teacher with the state Ministry of Education. For more than three months, we have not been paid our salaries, and this has caused untold hardship for us and our family members. To have money to buy foodstuff to break Ramadan fast is a problem; most of us break our fast with water due to the non-payment of our salaries. Fasting has a lot of blessings from Allah, and every Muslim is expected to partake in it; hence, the need for the state government to pay workers’ salaries.’’
Mr Samson Dauda with the Ministry of Works and Housing said:
“To meet my basic needs and those of my family members is a challenge. For over three months now, we have not been paid. This is not fair.’’
Hajiya Maryam Sani, with the state Ministry of Agriculture said:
“Most of us are breaking our Ramadan fast with water, which is not supposed to be.”