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NULGE strike paralyses activities in FCT councils

The Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), FCT Chapter, on Monday commenced a three-day warning strike across the six area councils.

Activities in the area council secretariats were virtually paralysed as a result of the strike embarked upon over alleged non-payment of three months workers’ salaries.

NAN reports that the premises of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) were put under lock and key as staff members observed the strike.

Few of the staff members were seen gathered outside the gate of the secretariat discussing in small groups.

Mr John Dogo, a staff of the council said that the strike was in protest of three months unpaid salaries. “For the past three months we have not been paid our salaries and the situation is no longer acceptable.

“We all know the situation in the country today, even the people that are collecting regular salaries are finding it difficult to survive.

“We are no longer ready to work if our salary arrears are not paid,” he said.

Mr John Zaki, another staff expressed disappointment at the situation. “There is no reason why our salaries will not be paid for upward of three months.

“Last time the FCT Minister, Malam Mohammed Bello, waded in, we became hopeful but now, that hope has been dashed and we cannot continue to work without pay.

“Management should expedite action on the payment, if they want us to resume work,” he said.

However, efforts by NAN to speak to the Chairman of AMAC, Mr Micah Jiba, were not successful as he was said not to be available for comments

In Kuje, the gate to the council secretariat was under key and lock to keep staff members away from official operations.

The Chairman of NULGE, Kuje Chapter, Mr Ibrahim Kabi, told NAN that the strike was geared towards meeting their demands.

He said the strike had become necessary as workers were finding it very difficult to transport themselves to work, pay house rent, feed their families and solve many other challenges.

“We want to ensure that the area council workers are paid their three months salary arrears without further delay or we remain at home.

“It was observed that the salary payments of June to October 2015 were paid without remittance of deductions from the appropriate quarters.

“These deductions include; tax, pension, contributions to multipurpose societies and repayments of loans from commercial banks.

“While we are raising concerns about the dwindling allocations to Area Councils, the Chairmen are busy employing workers.

The NULGE Chairman appealed to the FCT Minister to endorse the payment of salaries through “table payment” to help in checking corruption in the system.

“It is also our opinion that the minister should allow for table payment of salaries to all staff members for three consecutive months.

“What we demand is that the money should be paid to alleviate the sufferings of Council workers,” he said.

NAN reports that the situation was the same in Bwari, Kwali, Gwagwalada and Abaji Area Councils.

NAN reports that the gate to the Bwari council secretariat was also shut to prevent workers and others who have engagements from entering.

One of the workers, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that they would not return to work unless the authority pay their outstanding salaries.

NAN recalls that the union had on Friday through a statement, intimated the FCT Minister, of its resolved to embark on the strike from February 1.

According to NULGE Secretary, Mr Terry Isaac, the union decided to go on the warning strike following the non-payment of three months salaries to its members from Nov. 2015 to January 2016.

Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration and a delegation of the union were meeting to resolve the issue as at the time of this report.

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