The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Mr. Bobboi Kaigama, has revealed that 36 out of the 36 states in Nigeria are owing their workers salaries despite the billions of Paris Club refunds they have received from the Federal government.
Mr. Kaigama made this disclosure at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union held in Lagos on Thursday.
The trade union president warned against conversion of money meant for salaries as well and other benefits of workers into electioneering expenditure by state governments.
Mr. Kaigama concluded that corruption is what has made governors to owe workers.
“We want to say without fear of contradiction that the only healthy state in this country that has no arrears of salaries and other wages or unpaid benefits is Lagos State. All the other states have one issue or the other in terms of salaries, wages or benefits of their workers that have not been paid. There is no exception.
“You will find out that, if it is not one month’s salary that is not paid, it would be 13 months of gratuities or pensions that have not been paid. Or that contributory pension deductions are not being remitted or that there are certain promotion arrears and death benefits that have not been paid. So, I am telling you, taking this issue holistically, we can only say Lagos State is the only healthy state in this country.”
“We keep saying that, if state governors cannot meet their obligations to their workers, they should just resign and leave the stage. We have continued to argue that, apart from the first generation states that were created by the military, there is no state that was created thereafter that did not have its submission that the state had the capacity to pay the wages of the workers in the state and other things.”
The union president reasoned that regional government might be the way forward for the country as the labour force has lost confidence in the current structure, particularly at state level.
He said; “So, if it is just for the purposes of payment of salaries, no other developmental issues like infrastructure, health facilities, roads, rails transportation and so on, we are better off with regional government”.