Civil servants in Bayelsa State on Tuesday called off their strike over unpaid salaries and pension arrears following a breakthrough in dialogue with the state government on Monday.
They also accepted the government’s proposal to pay 50 percent of monthly salaries from February this year owing to dwindling revenue, especially from the global fall in oil price.
The workers had embarked on the strike after their 21-day ultimatum expired on Wednesday last week and defied Governor Seriake Dickson’s threat to sack any striking worker in addition to losing their pay for the duration they down tooled.
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, were represented in the meeting by Ndiomu John-Bipre and Tari Dounana, state chairmen of NLC and TUC respectively while the state government was represented by the Head of Service, Peter Singabele, and Commissioner for Information, Jonathan Obuebite.
“Labour has accepted the position of the state government to pay 50 per cent of monthly salaries to workers effective from February 2016 and expects the government to effect full payment of workers’ salaries as soon as the allocation from the federal account accruing to the state improves,” the communiqué issued after the meeting read, adding that the 50 percent salary accepted does not mean a downward review of workers’ pay, as the other half would be paid as soon as the state’s finances improve.
The communiqué added, “That in line with the ongoing payment of January 2016 salaries to workers, the government should facilitate the process of payment of salaries to the outstanding MDAs and parastatals, including pensioners without further delays.”
The state civil servants are owed four months’ pay while their local government counterparts are owed 12 months. Pensioners are owed about seven months’ arrears.