The national headquarters of Nigeria Labour Congress ,NLC has written a letter to Governor Jonah Jang expressing its displeasure over the fact that the Plateau state government “did not take the initiative by seizing the opportunity of the intervention of the NLC leadership at the highest level to offer reasonable options to resolving the issue even when the NLC proposed several workable proposals based on best practices in industrial relations to end the impasse through dialogue.”
The letter signed by Chris Uyot,acting secretary general Of NLC and address personally to Dr Jonah David Jang said “Despite this courtesy extended to the NLC delegation by His Excellency, the meeting had ended in a stalemate due to the rigidity of the State government not to pay the arrears of salaries owed the workers. It was, to say the least, rather unfortunate and sad that the State government did not take the initiative by seizing the opportunity of the intervention of the NLC leadership at the highest level to offer reasonable options to resolving the issue even when the NLC proposed several workable proposals based on best practices in industrial relations to end the impasse through dialogue.
“In view of the steps taken so far by the leadership of the labour movement to resolving the issue to no avail, the Central Working Committee (CWC) of Congress, comprising Presidents and General Secretaries of all affiliate unions of the NLC, which met on Tuesday 27th November, 2012, viewed as unfortunate the refusal of the State government to pay arrears of six months’ salary to Local government workers in Plateau State ostensibly for going on strike for the implementation of the National Minimum Wage, in addition to series of measures to bring justice to the affected workers”,NLC said .
The secretary general added that “We note that it was unusual anywhere in the world for workers to re-negotiate the National Minimum Wage lower than what was dully agreed upon at the national level through competent Tripartite processes, and enacted into law. For the workers of Local Governments in Plateau State to have bent backward to the extent of temporary accepting 55% of the National Minimum Wage pending when finances of government improves (when their counterparts in similar states were enjoying full implementation of the new wages) should be seen as the highest sense of responsibility and the height of patriotism displayed by any group of workers.”
“Not appreciating this heroic sacrifice by workers, but rather resorting to punitive measures against their laudable gesture, could portray the government as not only insensitive and uncaring, but disdainful of workers in Plateau State as well as the entire working people of this country. It could also be construed as lack of understanding of the fundamental principles of industrial relations which provide for fairness and transparency.
“This extent of impunity on workers by the Plateau State government in a democracy was not even an acceptable practice during our darkest days of military rule, in which His Excellency was an active participant as a soldier in sustaining that dictatorship as a governor”NLC said.