Ika South LGC: Workers call off strike …4 months salaries still unpaid …2 staff die

The Executive Chairman, Ika South Local Govt. Council, Hon. Hilary Ibude, has thanked the leadership of National Union of Local Govt. Employees, NULGE, Ika South Chapter for their understanding with the management of the council. Honourable Ibude made the assertion in response to the suspension of the strike action embarked few weeks ago by the council workers. According to the chairman, his administration is faced with dwindling revenue but stringent efforts has been put in place to ensure that the comment will not only endeavour to meet the salary needs of staff but will also strive hard to make the impact of his government reach every nook and cranny of the community. The council helmsman, advised the workers to see the few weeks they were away from work as turning point to re-dedicate themselves to duty. According to him, governance is collective responsibility which demands transparency in advice and selfless in duty.

The council chairman said apart from the drop in oil price, Nigeria?s output has pummeled from about 2.2million barrels per day (2.2mb pd) to less than one million barrels as at a result of the crisis in the Nigeria Delta. The output from Delta State dropped from 250, 000 barrels per day to less than 30, 000 barrels. This development according to the Chairman affected the statutory allocation adversely. As a result of this drop in earning, the statutory monthly allocation fell to near zero after deduction of primary school teachers from source since the past three months.

He advised the leadership of NULGE to remain as partners towards providing him with the enabling environment to deliver the promises he gave residents during his campaign. Honourable Ibude said he was favourably disposed to objective criticisms. According to the Chairman, the Local Govt. Area belongs to all and as such every residents should be prepared to make input towards its development. The council chairman said he was prepared to reach out to every to ensure that peace and development which are his primary trust are achieved deposit attempts by few inordinate persons to snow seed of discord amongst residents.

Earlier the Chairman NULGE, Ika South Chapter in a chat with journalists at the council secretariat, said the union has suspended the strike action embarked three weeks ago. The union leader said the decision was made following attempts made by management to pay one month salary and further concrete plans to ensure that funds are been sought to pay salaries of another three months. Comrade Ugbaja who was flanked by the Union?s Secretary Comrade Okafor Nkemdilim, said negotiations were on-going between union and management. While commending members for their understanding, the union leaders emphasized that the strike action has no ethnic or political undertones.

Meanwhile some of the council staff who spoke to Ika Weekly strictly on condition of anonymity said it was frustrating to work for four months without being paid. They said that many of their colleagues have resorted to okada riding to be able to make ends meet. They even went further to say that some of the staff have relocated to their various villages to be able to feed themselves and families. "We are all becoming increasingly frustrated by the way things are going. How can somebody work for four months without receiving his wage. We are almost in the middle of the 5th month. Now they are saying we are only going to get just one month salary. If it is eventually paid, we will still fall back to four months, and the reason for the strike (if it is called off) will still have been defeated. Most of us here are indebted in so many ways. Even if they pay, it will amount to nothing. The Micro-Finance Banks are chasing us all over the place. It is indeed very frustrating and disappointing. We hear that two of our staff members have died because they could not raise money to assess medical care. In short we are no longer sure of our survival. Well, let?s hope that even the one month promised is paid. That is why we are here, because every staff was sent a text message to come to the office today for both the payment and possible resumption" they stated.

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