By Nathan Nwakamma
Yenagoa – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Bayelsa, on Tuesday shut down the Treasury Building in Yenagoa, to demand the implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage and payment of December salaries of some workers in the state.
The workers alleged that the government reneged on its pledge to implement the new wage in December 2019, and January vouchers sighted by labour leaders had no indication of the new wage.
Addressing the crowd, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Kemela Okara, assured workers that their January salary would be paid with the new minimum wage next week.
Okara said why some workers were not paid the December salary was because of a garnish order by the court on some government accounts; but assured them however, that the order had been vacated.
“The Government has sent me to tell you people that your salary for January will be paid next week, I can assure you.
“The current government is committed to implementing the new minimum wage for Bayelsa workers.
“We have less than three weeks to go, we could have said the incoming administration should take over the implementation of new minimum wage, but we still went ahead to implement it,” Okara said.
Chairman of the NLC in Bayelsa, Mr John Ndiomu, said without the implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage in January salaries, the workers would not leave the Treasury Building gate.
“Political appointees have paid themselves, so why should the workers case be different? In December, some were paid while others did not get their salaries.
“If workers are ready to stay here, then so be it, nobody should use force on Bayelsa workers, if they try it tomorrow, more will join us,” he said.
The Joint Negotiating Council Chairman, Mr Olomo Dimie, said it was regrettable that government was paying political appointees several allowances, but workers were left out, adding that no further payments would be allowed until they were paid.
According to Dimie, the labour has taken steps to stop cash withdrawals of all sorts from the treasury to compel the government to heed the cry of workers..
He called on the Gov. Seriake Dickson led administration to see to the welfare of workers and pay them as he promised before his tenure elapsed on Feb. 14.