29th January, 2020
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Workers in Bayelsa state have staged a mass protest over non-payment of December 2019 salary and minimum wage from January 2020 salary by blocking the entrance of the treasury building in Yenagoa.
The workers said their anger is that they fear that the outgoing Governor Seriake Dickson who will vacate off on February 14 may deliberately be footdragging to leave the salary arrears to the incoming administration led for the first time in 21 years by an opposition political party.
After 20 years of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, grip on the governance of the state since the dawn of democracy in 1999, the All Progressives Congress, APC, will form a government with David Lyon as the elected Governor.
Also, according to them, the protest was as a result of non-payment of December to salaries some workers and non-payment of the new minimum wage in January 2020 as promised by the state Government.
The Chairman of Trade Union Congress, TUC, Comrade Julius Laye, and Chairman Joint Negotiating Council, Olomo Dimei, while explaining their ordeal to journalists in Yenagoa and at the venue of the protest, demanded the state government pays their salaries as when due and implement the minimum wage like other states in the country.
On his part, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, John Idiomu, said the address of the Secretary to the State Government to Labour leaders on the reason for the non-payment of workers salaries was not pleasing to the workers; stressing they will only leave the premises if their January salaries are paid.
Bayelsa Government was yet to issue an official statement on the issue on the non-payment of the December 2019 salary and the minimum wage palaver as at the time of filing this report.