By Mohammed Aminu in Gusau
The Zamfara State workers have embarked on an indefinite strike as a result of the failure of the state government to pay N4 billion outstanding gratuities, 18,000 minimum wage among other payments.
Addressing journalists shortly after its executive council meeting at the NLC headquarters in Gusau yesterday,Â the NLC Chairman, Bashir Mohammed Mafara, said the workers decided to embark on a total strike yesterday, following the expiration of a three-week ultimatum given to the state government by the union.
He expressed dismayÂ at the refusal of the state government to judiciously utilise the Paris Club Funds to settle the backlog of outstanding gratuities owed to retired workers in the state.
He beratedÂ Governor Abdulaziz Yari for not adhering to the law directing the payment of the 18,000 minimum wage to workers.
Mafara stated that some of the workersâ€™ grievances with the state government include the non-implementation of workers annual increments, promotion and the non-payment of 1,400 newly staff recruited three years ago.
Other issues according to the NLC, has to do with the refusal of the government to implement minimum wage for primary school teachers and local government workers, adding that theyÂ were still receiving between N7,500 and N8,000 as monthly salary.
Mafara decried the lack of review of payment of pension to retired workers in the state since 1998,Â saying it was against the law which stipulatedÂ that upward review should be observed after every five years.
â€œFor the past two years now, we have been pursuing these threeÂ issues amicablyÂ but the state government remained adamant andÂ not willing to pay the workers what is due for them.
â€œZamfara State has not implemented N18,000 minimum wage for its workersÂ as some teachers and local government employees in the state are being paid N 8,000 asÂ monthly salaries.ThisÂ has thrown our members into a deplorable situation as they are unable to meet their basic needs.
â€œIn fact, Zamfara State civil servants have not enjoyed any implementation of their promotion and advancement since the coming of Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar as the governor of the state.
â€œIn the light of the forgoing, and having exhausted all peaceful avenues that may avertÂ industrial dispute, theÂ NLC is left with no other option than to proceed on an indefinite strike action,â€ he averred.
He therefore, urged all workers in the stateÂ to stay away from their places of work from tomorrow until the problems were addressed by the government.