We Were Not Forced To Accept Half Salaries – Bayelsa NLC Boss | Independent Newspapers Limited
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We Were Not Forced To Accept Half Salaries – Bayelsa NLC Boss

Aremu, workers
Posted: Jun 17, 2016 at 6:06 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Igoniko Oduma

Yenagoa – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Bayelsa State has denied the allegation that organised labour in the state was forced by official quarters and some ‘influential workers’ to accept government’s proposal to pay 50 percent of workers’ salaries.

John Bipre Ndiomu, state chairman of NLC, debunked the insinuation in an exclusive interview with Independent on Thursday in Yenagoa.

He stated that labour would not have issued Governor Seriake Dickson-led administration the 21-day ultimatum in April if it were under any pressure in the first instance.

The NLC boss said that organised labour had in February rejected Dickson’s proposal of 50 per cent salary payment to the workers.

Ndiomu said that the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) would not have also embarked on the strike over unpaid five months’ salaries if they were unduly influenced by any official quarters.

The workers, he said, would have by May collected 50 per cent each for two months’ salaries if organised labour had acceded to the governor’s suggestion of payment of half of workers’ salaries.

He explained that it took organised labour two days’ meeting to take the decision for workers to down their tools, insisting that labour could not be influenced.

Ndiomu said: “We hear every type of accusation. If we were under such pressure, we wouldn’t have given government 21 days ultimatum. We wouldn’t have declared a strike in the first place. There was no pressure.

“In fact, it took us two days to take the decision to call off the strike. We deliberated for two days. Every State Executive Council (SEC) member was aware of that.

“After the meeting with the deputy governor (John Jonah), we came back the following day, we met, we could not resolve. We met the following day again and at that meeting we were able to resolve”.

He added that labour also consulted elder statesmen, the Speaker and leadership of the state House of Assembly, among other stakeholders, before the strike was declared at the expiration of the ultimatum.

On the government’s implementation of the payment of half of civil servants’ salaries on Tuesday, about 23 days after organised labour accepted the proposal and suspended strike, the NLC boss described it as “not good enough”.

“It is not good enough that it took government about 23 days to implement the 50 per cent payment of monthly salary of workers.

“We didn’t like that. We hope that in the future, government by the end of the month, will pay the salaries,” Ndiomu added.