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Gov. Bello appeals to Labour to shelve planned strike

Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger has appealed to the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to shelve its planned strike for peace and industrial harmony. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the organised labour in the state had on Jan. 14 given a 21-day ultimatum to the state government to implement the new N30, 000 minimum wage.

However, Bello in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mrs Mary Berje in Minna on Tuesday, said government was working relentlessly to ensure that all pending issues concerning civil servants were addressed swiftly. He said that negotiations were still ongoing and government was doing its best to improve the living standard of the people in spite of the challenges and paucity of funds.

Bello explained that the state government had commenced implementation of the National Minimum Wage, assuring that its consequential adjustment and arrears would be paid as soon as government and labour concluded negotiations. “We are still negotiating with labour, we intend to avert the industrial action and we are calling on the organised labour to rescind its decision to embark on the strike and allow negotiations to continue,’’ he said.

He explained that key government officials led by the Deputy G ov., Ahmed Ketso and labour officials would meet to discuss the way forward and outcome of the meeting would be made public.

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Bello noted that though, 85 per cent of the state’s allocation was used for payment of salaries, government had remained committed to the welfare of the state civil servants and would not relent until an agreement was reached. NAN also reports that the workers are also demanding a consequential adjustment of their salaries based on the new minimum wage and payment of accumulated salary arrears. The workers are expected to commence an indefinite strike today by 12 midnight if agreement is not reached between the state government and the organised labour.

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