The Osun State government has begun the payment of eight-month salary arrears to civil servants and pensioners.
Media aide to Governor Rauf Aregbesola Semiu Okanlawon confirmed this to reporters in Osogbo, the state capital.
He said the government paid the balance of November salary to workers on Grade Level 15 and above as well as full salary for December to all workers.
The government announced a 50 per cent cut in salaries and allowances of political office holders.
“Since the inception of this government, we have treated the resources under our control with utmost respect and disbursed them diligently for the benefit of our people.
“Our mandate had always been to use our God-given wealth to bridge the gap between the downtrodden and the government.
“It is very unfortunate that we find ourselves unable to pay our workers for several months when, in the past, we stood for paying on or before 25th of each month. We thank the ever gracious and understanding workers of our state for their patience as we go through this most trying time.
“However, we are glad to announce that we have commenced the process of paying for the balance of November and full December salary arrears for all workers across the state and the process should be concluded by Friday.
“We are able to do this because our partners and creditors have faith in us and we have proven to be responsible and trustworthy.
“We hereby announce a 50 per cent cut in the salaries and allowances of political office holders and appointees.
“This is one of the many steps we are taking to ensure our sustenance.
“We are also calling on the people to join us and do their part in carrying the weight of change.
“Austerity stares us in the face. We must embrace it. We are going to intensify our efforts at prudence and frugality.
We will practise self-denial in every way possible.
“As we proceed on this journey of self-discovery, we hope to put more and more of our people to work by attracting productive investments to our state.”
The workers yesterday expressed dissatisfaction with the payment, which many of them described as a disappointment.
They vowed to continue their industrial action, which has entered the fourth week.
The workers said they won’t return to work until they get at least five months of the eight months they are owed.
Speaking with reporters in Osogbo after a meeting with government officials, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Jacob Adekomi, maintained that the workers would not yield to government’s plea, unless their demands are met.
According to him, the strike was due to government’s inability to meet their demand for at least five months’ salaries.
Adekomi, accompanied by other state labour leaders, said it was disheartening that the government insisted on paying only one month (December 2014), stating that most of the workers had incurred debts.
He said the government intended to balance the 30 per cent of salary owed civil servants on Grade Level 15 and above for November, plus one month net salary to all workers across board for December.
Adekomi, who appreciated the governor’s efforts also appealed to workers to remain calm and steadfast, insisting that the NLC would continue negotiation with the government, until workers get their full salaries.
‘Austerity stares us in the face. We must embrace it. We are going to intensify our efforts at prudence and frugality. We will practise self-denial in every way possible’