Organised labour in Benue state has given 72 hours ultimatum to the state government to stop the ongoing biometric exercise it has embarked upon and pay the baglog of salary owed workers.
It warned that failure to pay workers before the expiration day (Friday) would force workers to severe the harmonious relationship it has with the government.
In a joint communique issued by chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC and Joint Public Service Negotiation Council, JPSNC Messrs Godwin Anya, Ordue Tartenger and Philip Nongo respectively, noted that biometric screening should not be a prerequisite for payment of salary arrears.
It would be recalled that the governor of the state, Samuel Ortom engaged consultants to audit the state workforce after the bailout fund was accessed two weeks ago. The exercise which is being monitored by committees is expected to last till November 8, 2015.
Nigerian Pilot learnt that the decision of labour leaders who had acceded to the biometric exercise was triggered by the payment of two months salary arrears of staff of Benue State University who had turned down the screening exercise.
Labour which maintained that the workers were not against the screening exercise, however regretted that a similar exercise was handled by the same consultant at the twilight of the last administration.
The communique reads in part, “Benue workers should not be subjected to the untold hardships they are currently experiencing especially that it could lead to loss of lives as a result of mass movement of workers,” stressing “bailout funds was assessed based on the payment vouchers of the months in
arrears, the fund is the representation of the financial implication of salary arrears owed Benue workers.”
The workers warned that failure of government to pay workers before the expiration day (Friday) it added, that they would be forced to severe the harmonious relationship with the government.
In a swift reaction to the threat by the workers, the state governor, Chief Samuel Ortom seems to have bowed to workers’ threat as he has ordered the immediate payment of workers.
The media adviser to the governor, Tahav Argerzua who reacted to the development said that the governor had directed that payment should be done simultaneously with the screening of workers.
This was contrary to the earlier posture of the governor who insisted that the biometric exercise must be done before workers are paid, since the government needed to ascertain the actual figure of the state workforce.

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