The Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, has accused the Local Government workers of planning mischief and false accusations.
Lalong dislcosed this Sunday at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day church service at COCIN headquarters in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
For more than a month now, the local government workers who have not benefited from the new minimum wage have taken to the streets to protest. The protest which have been ongoing since December was was resumed after the Christmas holiday by the workers at the state secretariat in Jos but were violently dispersed by a combined team of security operatives.
The operatives fired teargas and brutalised some of the protesters in the process of disparsing the protesters, however, that didn’t stop the protesters from continuing with their protest.
The Governor of Plateau State has however come out to disregard the claims by the workers, according to the Governor, it is the duty of the Local Governments to negotiate the new minimum wage with their employees based on their capacity to pay. This is the same thing that happened at the Federal and State levels
The Governor also claimed he has a soft spot for workers, as he believes, every worker that works deserves his wages.
Furthermore, Lalong advices the local government workers to embrace dialogue and sit with their employers or at least allow the Technical Committee to come up with their findings rather than politicize the matter.
“Let me use this opportunity to also touch on the issue of the implementation of the new 30 thousand minimum wage which has become a matter of protests among Local Government employees. They have for over one month engaged in various actions including blocking of roads, and locking up the State Secretariat despite the fact that negotiations are going on.
Because they have misinformed many and embarked on a campaign of calumny and blackmail against the Government and my person, I need to make some clarifications for everyone who cares to know that I will be the last person to truncate the implementation of the new minimum wage at the Local Government level when I had agreed to pay State employees.
You are aware that following the prolonged clamour for financial autonomy of the Local Government system nationwide, the matter was finally resolved. As a result, I approved that Local Government autonomy in Plateau State should be implemented immediately.
Consequently, all funds belonging to that tier of Government go straight to them. It is therefore the duty of the Local Governments to negotiate the new minimum wage with their employees based on their capacity to pay. This is the same thing that happened at the Federal and State levels.
I was therefore shocked that despite my intervention to ensure that the matter was quickly resolved through a Technical Committee, the workers embarked on protests which caused hardship to other citizens. They have also called me unprintable names forgetting that I have a soft spot for workers.
I am always conscious of the Biblical injunction that says a worker deserves his wages. The records are there for everyone to verify my commitment towards this. So it is incorrect to say that I am holding Local Government salaries. It is not true.
My advice to them is to embrace dialogue and sit with their employers or at least allow the Technical Committee to come up with their findings rather than politicize the matter.”