Kaduna state government has threatened to arrest the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President over planned strike.
The government noted that the arrest warrant of NLC President Ayuba Wabba issued in 2017 over alleged vandalism of government facilities still hold water.
Recall that the organised labour had issued a five days notice of warning strike beginning from Sunday.
In the notice circulated on May 11, the union noted that NLC President Ayuba Wabba would be in the state to monitor compliance with the strike action.
The government, through the state Head of Service, Bariatu Muhammad, and the commissionerr, Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Jafar Sani, however, gave the warning at a press conference on Saturday in Kaduna.
He said, “As is appropriate, the security agencies have been notified of the plans of some trade unionists to recruit hoodlums, including from other states, to create a destructive spectacle and further their self-serving narrative about public service jobs and insecurity.”
“Thus, it is not sustainable to persist in spending 84 per cent to 96 per cent of its FAAC receipts on salaries and personnel costs as has been the experience of the state since October 2020.
“This government was not elected to devote most public funds to paying government workers and treat that as its defining governance mission, to the detriment of developing the state and its people.”
“The necessary verification of credentials for full implementation of this painful but necessary decision is still being done.
“It has not determined the total number of officers that might be affected by the decision. Neither has it stopped paying the minimum wage, despite the prompting of the denizens of sentiment who have urged it to suspend payment and thereby violate the national Minimum Wage Act.
“The Kaduna State Government prefers to take lawful and rational steps that are within its powers to rightsize its personnel and thereby reduce its wage bill.”
It stressed that it would not, therefore, succumb to the “veritable campaign of lies and misrepresentation” by the trade unions on the matter.
The state government claimed that it “has been assured by some trade unions that they will not be part of the planned sabotage of social and economic life.” He noted that the Trade Union Act prohibits strike action by labour workers who provides essential services.
“The law also forbids subjecting “any other person to any kind of constraint or restriction of his personal freedom in the course of persuasion” for strike action”, it added.
Bariatu reiterated that ban on public processions was still in force in the state, and vowed to protect state facilities as well as rights of workers.
“It is unlawful for anyone to try to deny them access or exit. Government offices are not the property of any trade unionist and none of them should entertain thoughts of locking up or vandalizing any facility.”
Also, he disclosed some of the state friendly policy that favours workers. “Kaduna is also one of the states that is most faithful in implementing the Contributory Pension Scheme, effective from 1st January 2017”.
“The state has also courageously attempted to settle the N14 billion it inherited as arrears of death benefit and gratuity from 2010, commencing payments with those who had exited service the longest.
“Since 2015, KDSG has paid over N13 billion in death benefits and gratuity.”
“This government has demonstrated in action, its commitment to the welfare of its workers, but it insists that this is sustainable only in the context of the general welfare of residents of the state that the government itself is mandated to serve” he added.