It was not funny as the Leadership of Joint Action Union of Local Government Areas of Kogi State yesterday all broke down in tears following Government’s negotiating team failing to rescind its decision to pay 40% as October Salaries.
Tears freely flowed at the last meeting when it was obvious that the Government’s insistence to pay 40% as against the 60% demanded by the Union leaders may not change.
The meeting between the Leadership of the various Union’s at the Local Government Areas with the Kogi State Government yesterday ended in a deadlock after over seven meetings.
The Meeting so far failed to reach an acceptable negotiation with the State Government on the percentage to be paid for November salaries following the receipt of the October allocation.
JAU is made up of the various Union Leadership such as NUT Chairman, NUP Chairman, MHWUN Chairman, NASU Chairman, NULGE Chairman, were all on there knees, broke down in tears pleading with the representative of Government on the need to for once make workers happy by paying above 40%.
JAU members cut across Teachers, Health workers, Local Government Staffers, begged vehemently for an increase in the percentage payment, said
has since last week been engaging the Kogi State Government on the payment of October Salary. The JAU is insisting on 60% payment even as the Government is holding onto 40% as what it can pay.
The Joint Action Union a source disclosed may settle for 50% salaries. This is after there initial 60% salary request for there members failed. The yesterday’s meeting ended in a deadlock, would continue today.
A visit across the LGAs shows that workers paid by allocation accruing to the local government, under the aegies of Joint Action Union have lost confidence in there Leadership, lamented that the JAU has not protected there interest described as regrettable that they have allowed the State Government pay them percentage salaries for too long.
Workers accoding to sources who are earning salaries from allocation to the Local Government Areas, under the aegies of JAU, said they have consistently been on percentage payment of salaries ranging from 30%, to 35%. But the Joint Action Union following the anger of there members are asking for a jack up to 60% from the October allocation.
The workers who spoke on condition of annonymity, said the last collected 50% as salaries before the November 2019 Governoship election.
Ever since then, salaries for workers and Pensioners, Health Workers, Primary School Teachers, Local Government Staffers ranges between 30% to 35%.
The present demand by JAU members has put there Leadership under tight coner after what many of them termed years of sacrifices to live with the percentage payment.
The October Salary is likely to be the last to be paid centrally by Government before may be finally handed over to likely elected Councils after the December 12 Election, reason why the Members of the Various unions are agitating for improve percentage.
Majority of JAU members at the Local Government level say they look forward to the return of the salary account to the various Local Government areas, lamented that it has been challenging making ends meet with percentage payment.
Another set of JAU members however postulated that returning the salaries to the various Local Government Areas has its own implications and challenges as reaching negotiations by the workers would be a harculean tasks.
They staffers in this category who argued against returning the salaries to the various Councils, however commended the leadership of JAU for still working to return them to 50% Inspite the loss of confidence thus far displayed by the members.
Still Speaking, another Member of JAU, a pensioner lamented how the Government are taxing Pensioners, lamented that pensioners at the Local Government levels even with the percentage payment are still waiting to be paid for October in November.
The State Government received N3.7b, N3.4b and N2.9b respectively for the month of September, October and November as allocation for all the Local Government areas.
With a monthly wage bill of N1.7b if it pays 50% and N1.5b if it pays 40%, the members of JAU wonder why the untold hardship caused by the payment of percentage, said it would be business unusual if there Leadership fail to secure an increase.
Due to the pressure placed on the JAU Leadership by members, the Leadership have no choice but to reject the proposed 40% the Government is dangling at them
More worrisome is the fact that the anger by the LG workers made up of Teachers, Health Workers, LG Staffers, Pensioners is coming barely some days to the local government Election slated for December 12.
Many see the anger and likely protest as not too good coming at a time for Grassroots Election with the Teacher, LG and Health Staffers the majority of voters in all Election