Speaker Benue State House of Assembly, Hon Yerkimbir Ikyangir has appealed to the striking workers in the state not to insist on payment of five months before they call off the indefinite strike.
The speaker spoke during an extraordinary session the house held with organised labour on Friday.
Ikyangir said the stand of the labour leaders to only call off the strike when four or five months out of the outstanding salaries was paid amounted to telling the state government to go and borrow money to the tune of N40 billion.
Organised labour had on October 3rd commenced indefinite strike over non-payment of seven-month salary to state civil servants and 11 months to primary school teachers and local government workers as well as 13 months outstanding pension allowance to retirees.
But in a swift response, the state governor Samuel Ortom during a radio programme said that his administration could only pay one month across the board due to lean resources.
The speaker, however, said, ‘insisting on four or five months payment before suspending the ongoing strike will amount to government taking loan of N40 billion, but let me appeal to the labour leaders to allow government tackle headlong the source of the huge wage bill that has made regular payment of salary as at when due.’
“Part of the moves is the ongoing screening exercise which I think we help us find a lasting solution to the problem.”
Earlier, the state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Godwin Anya had stated that the union was worried about the huge wage bill and explained that it had also commissioned a committee to come up with the exact wage bill of the state.
Anya further said the union had resolved on four or five months payment before it suspends the ongoing strike due to the hardship workers are passing through in the state.