Organised Labour in Niger Threatens Strike Over Salary Cut

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The organised labour in Niger on Tuesday says it will embark on indefinite strike if the state government refused to rescind its decision of slashing November salaries of workers.

Mr Yakubu Garba, the state Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC),  in Minna, said NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) would embark on industrial action if government refused to heed their demands.

“Our position is that the 30 percent deferred balance of June salaries should be paid, we are not taking anything less than 100 per cent in November and the 80 civil servants dismissed by the government must be re-absolved into service. Failure to do this, the government should expect the resumption of our strike from 12 midnight of Tuesday (today)”.

Garba explained that negotiations between government and organised labour had not been concluded as it was deadlocked on Thursday, when the government started payment of November salaries on Friday with pay cut.

He said while some workers received 30 percent less of their original salaries others got 35 percent.

“It is illegal to slash workers’ pay without their consent. The workers’ salaries are their right and not a privilege”.

The NLC Chairman argued that with the federal allocation of N4.2 billion accruing to the state, paying workers salaries amounting to N2.6 billion should not be difficult for the government to pay as the balance would be used to settle other sectors.

Alhaji Mohammed Idris, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy had earlier told newsmen that, “Niger state government got N4.2 billion as Federal Allocation accruing to the state for November 2020. Right now it will be difficult to pay full salaries to our workers due to dwindling resources caused by recession. Due to the challenges we are having, we have decided to do away with over-head costs for our Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)”.

Idris also said security challenges facing the state such as banditry and kidnapping are some of the reasons making government to cut workers’ pay by 30 percent.

He said the measure would enable government save funds to tackle insecurity in the state.

“We are not slashing workers’ salaries, what we are doing now is to differ workers salaries to tackle security issues and pay them when the economy improves”.

Also, Alhaji Ibrahim Matane, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) insisted that government does not have the capacity to pay 100 percent salaries of civil servants.

Matane said whatever percent differed would be paid back to the workers when the economy improves.

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