Dickson decries workers’ resort to strike over salaries

YENAGOA—GOVERNOR Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has decried workers’ resort to strike or threats of strike whenever there is a delay in the payment of their salaries.

Dickson, who spoke at the swearing in of Mrs. Atonye Pekene as Permanent Secretary in the state’s civil service, said civil servants ought to appreciate the government’s efforts at meeting its salary obligations rather than constituting themselves into what he termed, “vortex of opposition.”

He said: “We live in times when states find it difficult to meet their basic obligations of paying monthly salaries and obligations to civil servants, though not deliberately. From the revenue base I inherited in 2012, which stood at about N18 billion to now  when my last receipt for last month stood at about N6.2 billion, shows the enormity of the challenge we are facing. But because of the values and systems we have put in place, our state does not owe salaries of civil servants. Everything we get, we plough back to meeting our obligations to civil servants. In addition to that, we pay NECO, WAEC and JAMB registration fees for our students and still find time to meet other obligations.”

He claimed that workers and their leaders were making unguarded and uninformed comments in the media, rather than showing gratitude to the government for contending with the lean financial times and called on the people to exercise some patience, as the state had no alternative source of revenue.

“The Secretary to the State Government, SSG, should get in touch with the Vice Chancellor and the Governing Council of Niger Delta University,NDU, Amassoma, on the challenges before the government. Every month, we spend N500 million for staff salary of the NDU alone and yet if there is a delay of three days or one week, workers threaten strike and turn the NDU, not into a citadel of learning that it is expected to be, but a vortex of opposition.