The Nasarawa State Government has condemned the action by the National Labour Congress (NLC) to declare an industrial action over the reduction of the workers salaries by 50 per cent.
This is according to the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Nasarawa State, Yusuf Usman during an interview on Sunrise Daily.
“The strike was as a result of labour’s inability to comprehend the situation on ground, they had no reason to go on strike without actually taking into account the real situations on ground, Mr Usman told Channels television.
“Here is a state that for five years consecutively has been paying without failing and without any default.
“I emphasised this point because as we are talking with you there are so many states that are far behind in the payment of salaries, owing arrears of five, six, seven months.
“So if Nasarawa State would, despite all the hardship in the country, keep fit with the payment of salaries for 5 years without arrears I think there is no reason.
Mr Usman also debunked the allegations that the state government slashed the workers’ salaries by 50 per cent saying it was a reduction of the bonuses the government gave the workers in 2011.
The commissioner insisted that the move had become imperative in the face of the current economic reality in the country.
“It is not true that Nasarawa State Government has slashed the salary of any worker, what has happened is a reduction or review of the super bonuses that the government magnanimously gave the workers during the implementation of the minimum wage in 2011”, he said.
However, supporting the planned protest, the NLC through the Assistant Secretary, Information and Public Relations, NLC, Mr Denja Yaqub said the action by the Nasarawa Government was one-sided and described it as a criminal act.
“We got a report that the government of Nasarawa state unilaterally decided to slash workers salary by 50 per cent through processes that were completely not in line with the standard set for collective bargaining by our laws, national laws and also the International Labour Conventions especially 98 and 87, which mean if you have disagreement or dispute there is always an opportunity to sit down and look at all the issues and resolve collectively.
“When an employer decides to unilaterally take decisions especially on wage issues particularly in this case, it has to do with tampering with the national minimum wage law which no employer has the right to do.
“The governor was saying that their decision did touch on the minimum wage. It is the most illegal thing that has been done to the national minimum wage law. There is an Act on National Minimum wage that has been completely violated by the state government, completely illegal and criminal.”
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had earlier asked the (NLC) and its affiliates to refrain from embarking on its planned protest in Nasarawa State.
In a compliance advisory signed by the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Bem Angwe, all parties to the complaint before the NHRC were strongly advised to maintain peace and order, pending the final determination of the investigation of the complaint.
The commission also advised the Nasarawa State government to suspend the implementation of the reduction in the workers’ salaries, pending the completion of the investigation of the complaints.