The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Bayelsa, on Tuesday shut down the Treasury Building in Yenagoa, the state capital, to demand the implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage.
The workers also demanded payment of December salaries of some workers in the state.
According to the workers, the government failed to honour its pledge to implement the new wage in December 2019, and January vouchers sighted by labour leaders also had no indication of the new wage.
The protesting workers chanted songs such as; “We no go gree, enough is enough, pay us our January salary with the new minimum wage,” as they besieged the treasury building.
Addressing the workers, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Kemela Okara, assured them that their January salaries would be paid with the new minimum wage next week.
He explained that some workers were not paid December salary was because of a garnish order by the court on some government accounts; but assured them that the order had been vacated.
“The Government has sent me to tell you people that your salary for January will be paid next week, I can assure you.
“The current government is committed to implementing the new minimum wage for Bayelsa workers.
“We have less than three weeks to go, we could have said the incoming administration should take over the implementation of new minimum wage, but we still went ahead to implement it,” the SSG said.
In his remarks, NLC Chairman in Bayelsa, Mr. John Ndiomu, said without the implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage in January salaries, the workers would not leave the Treasury Building gate.
“Political appointees have paid themselves, so why should the workers case be different? In December, some were paid while others did not get their salaries.
“All we are asking for now is pay us the January salary with the minimum wage template. The address of the SSG, did not go down well and is unacceptable to most of us here.
“If workers are ready to stay here, then so be it, nobody should use force on Bayelsa workers, if they try it tomorrow, more will join us,” he said.
The Joint Negotiating Council Chairman, Mr. Olomo Dimie, lamented that government was paying political appointees several allowances, while workers were left out.
He said that no further payments would be allowed until workers were paid adding that labour had taken steps to stop cash withdrawals of all sorts from the treasury to force the government to heed the cry of workers.