Angry employees in the Bayelsa State local government areas have rejected a proposal to pay them one-month salary out of the over 10-month salary arrears owed by the councils.
They also threatened to shut down the eight LGAs in the state if legitimate workers, particularly those who were employed before the first tenure of Governor Seriake Dickson were sacked.
Their positions were contained in a seven-point communiqué the council workers under the auspices of the Joint State Administrative Council of Medical Health Workers Union of Nigeria and the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees issued after a meeting in Yenagoa on Thursday.
The communiqué was signed by the state Chairman, NULGE, Akpos Ekiegha; Secretary, NULGE, Tonye Jaja; state Chairman, MHWUN, James Adama; and the Secretary, MHWUN, Arafat Nwibani.
The workers, who insisted that they had been suffering, owing bank loans and school fees, said one month’s salary was unacceptable and unthinkable.
They said, “It has become very worrisome following impeccable rumours making the rounds that only one month salary will be paid to workers in spite of over 10 months salary arrears owed by the councils.
“Joint State Administrative Council-in-session states in clear terms that this is totally unacceptable as any contemplation to pay one month salary in the face of the present hardship will be resisted, knowing full well that workers are heavily indebted to banks and schools, among others.”
They demanded the immediate release of three months LGA allocations from the Federation Account and the Federal Government bailout funds to the state government “totalling about N2.5bn for the commencement of payment of the about N5bn salary arrears as at March 2016, even if government wants her citizens to suffer and die up to the end of the verification exercise.”
The unions stated that they had also withdrawn with immediate effect their representatives from the councils’ staff verification committees set up by Dickson.
They mentioned the inconsistencies and complications arising from the terms of reference of the verification committees as reasons for pulling out.
They warned that removal of legitimate local government workers, especially those employed before Dickson became governor, would be resisted.
Meanwhile, Dickson has set a monthly target of N600m internally generated revenue for the newly-inaugurated 11-member state Internal Revenue Board.
The current target of N600m is N100m higher than the previous target (N500m).
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, on Thursday, Dickson said the new target was part of the measures to shore up the revenue base of the state.