The Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. David Umahi, has re-stated his determination to increase the salaries of workers in the state.
Addressing newsmen shortly after a closed door meeting with the National President of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and National Treasurer, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, in Abakaliki on Friday, Governor Umahi said, “we informed him(Khaleel) that we are determined to increase the salaries of workers but we cannot be able to do that, until we gather all the indices, and by the end of October we should be able to know how much we want to increase workers salaries.”
The governor maintained that his “government was determined to pay the same salaries at both the state and local government levels,’’ but noted that “it would impose additional burden on the government as the money coming to the local governments cannot carry it at once.”
He appealed to the workers at all levels to assist the government in its quest to increase the state’s internally generated revenue, stressing that the state Executive Council had “met three times this week to re-evaluate our sources of IGR and implement same.”
The governor re-stated that his government would no longer negotiate with the Nigerian Labour Congress led by a federal worker in the state.
”We cannot recognize leadership that is not honest both to the workers and the government,” he stressed.
Eng. Umahi, who said that the government was poised to ensure that there was equity in the increase of workers’ salaries, disclosed his willingness to negotiate with the Junior Workers Association whom, he disclosed, had written to him disassociating itself from the NLC.
He similarly announced that he had received a letter from a faction of the congress which had gone to court to stop further deductions of its members salaries for Nigerian Labour Congress.
In his remarks, Khaleel, who was accompanied by the state Chairman of the NULGE, Comrade Lenard Nkah, said he came to see the governor over the salary crisis between the state government and workers, especially those in the local governments.
Khaleel also noted that he used the visit to “understand some salient issues that were not clear to us at the national headquarters of the union in Abuja. He disclosed that he was informed that the NULGE was not taking part in the on-going warning strike in the state.
The NULGE president, who said that he would report back to the National President of the NLC on his observations, appealed to the governor to grant them audience should there be any need for the national leadership of the congress to visit the state.