Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State

Richard Elesho/Lokoja

Barely two weeks to the December 12th council polls in Kogi State, efforts to avert an industrial crisis at the third level of government in the State are yet to produce a truce.

The meeting between the leadership of the various Union’s in the Local Government Areas with the State Government ended in a deadlock on Monday.

The Meeting was called to reach a common ground between the LG workers and the state government on what percentage of salaries will be paid to the workers for November following the receipt of October allocation.

Joint Action Union (JAU) is made up of the various Union Leadership such as NUT, NUP, MHWUN, NASU, NULGE and has since last week been engaging the Kogi State Government on the payment of October salary.

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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%. This is after the initial 60% salary request for their members failed. Another meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday.

Workers at the LG levels have been collecting 30-35% of their salaries for years in the state. They were however said to have given their union leaders a marching order to get a better deal with government or risk their anger.

Some of the workers who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed that just before the last Governorship election in the State last November they collected 50% as salaries. They said the government has since reverted to 30-35% payment.

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The present demand by JAU members has put their Leadership in a tight corner 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 the State Government. It is expected that after the council polls, the State may return the duty of salary payment to each of the 21 council areas.

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 are at a loss why the government has not conceded to their request.