Plateau LG workers, Teachers vow to continue protest over non-implementation of minimum wage

•It's not my responsibility to pay salary of LG workers ― Gov Lalong

As the local government workers and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) vowed to remain on the streets until the State Government implement the new minimum wage while Governor Simon Bako Lalong has declared that payment of their salaries and other emoluments are not the responsibility of the state government.

The State Joint Negotiations Council in a statement signed by its chairman, Comrade James Diwa on Thursday directed the workers to suspend the protest to pave the way for proper negotiation but inspite of this directive, the workers on Friday still trooped out to continue with the protest holding the governor responsible for their predicaments.

The workers blocked all the major roads within the State capital especially the flyover at the city centre thus causing traffic gridlock for several hours while their counterparts in all the seventeen local government areas also continue with the protest.

In his reaction through a statement signed by the State Commissioner of Information Mr. Daniel Manjan, Governor Lalong who absolved the state government from the allegations said salaries, emoluments and other allowances of local government staff and teachers were entirely the responsibility of the local government council.

He said:”This has been reinforced with the implementation of autonomy to the Local Governments in the State in line with recent national developments. Therefore the Governor has no direct responsibility for implementation of the new minimum wage at the Local Government level nor does he possess any fiat to “direct” such payment. Chanting solidarity songs by the affected staff to the effect that “Lalong ka bamu hakin mu” translated (Lalong give us our wages) is highly misplaced and to the say the least mischievous.”

He narrated that his administration has consistently remained a labour-friendly comparable to non in the recent history of Plateau State since assuming office in 2015 adding that the state government did not only pay 8 months’ salary arrears of State workers inherited from the administration of Governor Jonah Jang, but also paid all withheld allowances under the “No-Work-No-Pay” rule.

“Today, workers can testify to the fact that I have never owed workers any salary since I took over. Rather, I have ensured that they get their alerts before the 25th of every month. Little wonder, the workers themselves named me “Governor Alert”.

“To now suggest that this same Governor is withholding the sweat of Local Government staff and teachers (who are being administered by a separate and autonomous tier of government) is most uncharitable and condemnable.”

The governor therefore appealed to the aggrieved workers to reconsider their actions and allow the Technical Committee conclude its work for further action and advised them to have a rethink and refrain from being used by politicians and other interests to embark of actions that are not only inimical to the State, but also injurious to their cause.

He further enjoined them to heed the voice of their leaders who are deeply involved in the negotiations and respect the appeal by the Chairman Joint Public Sector Negotiating Team for Plateau State Comrade James Diwa for calm and suspend all protests as the Technical Committee is working to achieve its mandate.

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