This is coming after a joint meeting of staff of the Medical and Health Workers Union, the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employers (NULGE), the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Niger state and Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) Niger state.
The workers in a letter through their unions, and dated March 31, 2020 and signed by Comrade Kabiru Yakubu, the secretary of the joint union, warned that on no account should any branch Chairman or his representative enter into any agreement with any local government council for the partial payment of March 2020 salaries.
Opposing the move, they said, “The unions reject vehemently the decision of the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs local government to pay workers partial salaries for March 2020 in whatever percentage.”
Earlier, the decision to forfeit the 20 per cent of the wage was taken at a meeting that included the 25 local government chairmen, officials of officials of the National Union of Local Government Employees, those of the Nigeria Union of Teachers and the Medical and Allied Workers Union.
The grassroots leaders had accepted that the workers be paid 80 percent of their salaries for the month of march, while 20 per cent should be kept aside to provide some palliatives to the vulnerable persons in their areas to help cushion the effect of the stay-at-home and to address possible spread of the pandemic.
Reacting to the development, the state chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), who doubles as the chairman of Chanchaga Local Government, Mallam Ibrahim Abubakar Bosso, hinged the decision to the shortfall witnessed in the total amount accrued to the LGs for the month of March from the federal account.
Ibrahim explained that it appears the decision was not well taken by a across section of the workers, just as there were persons at the meeting, who were not happy after the decision was taken.
According to him, “The state government is already overwhelmed with financial burdens since the out break of the COVID 19, and the need for us to look for ways of sourcing for funds to contain the spread and provide palliative for the people informed the decision.
“The meeting agreed that only 80% of salaries should be paid to workers with part of the agreement also being to first pay the 20% before any deduction during the April salaries.”
A top government source of the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs revealed that the amount that was accrued to the 25 councils from the Federation Account in Abuja for March 2020 stood at N3.6 billion whereas the total salary bills was N3.4billion.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, explained that after the statutory deductions that included union dues, 5 per cent emirate deduction, security votes and monthly overhead for the chairmen, “what is left is less than N3billion and this can not pay 100 percent salaries of the over 3,000 workers at the local government.”
It was gathered that the workers were irked by the refusal of the 25 chairmen to forfeit their overhead cost that was between N10m to N15m aside from their security vote for the month of March that was between N10m to N15m as was largely responsible for the payment of the 80 percent salaries.