SEVERAL months after local government workers in Delta State suspended their strike over unpaid salaries, it is still gloom for the category of civil servants across the 25 councils as they are being owed eight months salary arrears.
The strike was suspended last year following the bailout funds released by the Federal Government to states, part of which was used by the Delta State Government to settle some arrears of council workers’ salaries.
President of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Comrade David Ofoeyeno said while suspending the strike that the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had shown interest and demonstrated commitment to providing solution to the financial challenges of the councils, revealing that funds had been made available for the councils to pay at least three months.
Ofoeyeno who doubles as the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) added, however, that the union will not hesitate to resume the strike should the government reneged, insisting that agitations were still on to provide lasting solution to the financial crisis at the councils.
A council worker residing in Asaba who preferred to remain anonymous, lamented that the situation was critical and was finding it very difficult, just like his colleagues, to meet up his financial obligation.
“We are starving. We have not been paid for eight months. We received salary last in September 2015. NULGE is not helping matter.
They are not taking up our cause with the authorities. We are confused and don’t know who to run to,” he lamented.
Speaking at the commissioning of an ultra modern secretariat of NULGE in Asaba late last year, Okowa explained that the state requested for more than N30 billion as bail-out fund to settle staff salaries of local council staff and pensioners but got only N10 billion.
Meanwhile, persistent calls to Ofoeyenu on his mobile phone went unanswered while his deputy, Mr. Johnson Oyawiri though was evasive, however said the Secretary of NLC was competent to speak on the issue.