Hungry Kogi Workers Owed Salary Beg For Food
Hardship that appears to have no end is what workers in Kogi State are facing right now.
They want aid from President Muhammadu Buhari, as they have not been paid for months.
Intervention in form of food, drug and other materials is what they are asking for from the Nigerian president and well-meaning indigenes of Kogi State.
The workers made the appeal on Wednesday in Lokoja in a statement jointly issued by the state chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trad Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC).
Messrs Olakunle Faniyi, Kolawole James and Isah Abubakar, Secretaries of NLC, TUC and JPSNC respectively, signed the statement which was circulated to media houses.
They want President Buhari to direct the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other humanitarian agencies to supply them food and the relief materials.
The civil servants said they were being owed between 11 and 21 months salaries and that the situation had adversely affected them and their families.
They urged the presidency to consider the condition of their children who had been sent out of schools because they could no longer pay their school fees.
“The situation of workers in the state is worse than the condition of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in various camps.
“The agony of the workers is not in any way less than the experiences of victims of natural disasters.
“A situation where workers cannot afford even one meal a day and pay the school fees of their children is already a humanitarian issue.
“As it stands today, over 30% of the workforce is owed 21 months salaries.
“Twenty per cent have unpaid salaries of between 11 and 18 months while about 45% took their salaries up till June this year.
“These are the category of workers the Kogi State Government is forcing to embrace the ‘clock-in, clock-out’ work policy,” the statement read.
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The civil servants also implored the indigenes of the state at home and abroad to show concern and assist in whatever form they could.
Workers in the state had on September 22 embarked upon an indefinite strike to press home their demand for payment of their salary arrears.
Their action seemed not to have triggered an action on the part of the government, as Mr Kingsley Fanwo, a spokesman for Governor Yahaya Bello, said the government had not entered into negotiation with labour over the demand.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria that the signatories to the strike notice were unknown to the government.
Fanwo faulted labour’s claim on salary arrears, saying that they were out to misinform the public for selfish reasons.
He did not give the right state of things, but asked workers to disregard the labour’s directive to go on strike but continue to go to work.