BY ISRAEL BULUS, KAFANCHAN
The Join Unions of Tertiary Institutions of Kaduna State (JUTIKS), has rejected the deduction of 25 per cent of workers’ salaries by the state government.
The state government had on April 26 announced its decision to deduct 25 per cent of workers salary until the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic quarantine ends.
The government particularly said that career public servants earning a net pay of N67,000 and above after tax would donate 25 per cent of their salary monthly whilst the quarantine last.
But the union in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Mr Noah Danlami and the Secretary, Mr Jibril Makama in Kaduna on Wednesday, rejected the decision, describing it as “illegal imposed levy”.
The union recalled that labour unions in the state had offered five per cent of workers’ salaries as workers contribution but was rejected by the government only to impose 25 per cent deductions.
The group added that providing palliatives to cushion the effect of Covid-19 lockdown on citizens was the responsibility of government that should not be shifted to workers already burden by responsibilities.
They argued that while some states were considering upward review of workers’ salaries as palliative against the hardship occasioned by the lockdown, Kaduna state government was imposing levy on workers.
They said that Kaduna state-owned tertiary institutions were still being paid 80 per cent of the obsolete CONTISS salary structure, as against the CONPCASS/CONTEDISS structure introduced 11 years ago.
“This made Kaduna tertiary institutions workers the least paid in the country, while still shouldering the responsibilities of not only their immediate and extended families but their neighbours as well.
“The government said that no public servant will have less than N50,000 monthly to manage in this emergency period. But this is not true as majority of workers are currently servicing different loans.
“The government is also aware that so many workers have acquired loans to purchase non-essential Government Houses.
“Such category of workers will be plunged into deep financial crisis as a result of the multiple deductions which is further complicated by the forceful deductions,” they said.
The union appealed to the state to immediately stop further implementation of the illegal levy, stressing that financial burden on members was already unbearable to accommodate 25 per cent salary deduction.
They advised the government to explore other sources of funding instead of extracting from the meagre salaries of helpless public and civil servants of the state.
They also advised that rather than deducting workers salary, the government should re-channel the funds being expended on the ongoing roads project to fighting Covid-19.
The state government had explained that political appointees and public servants must contribute financially to towards enabling the almost 10 million persons living in the state to survive the emergency period.
The government had directed all its senior appointees, including commissioners, permanent secretaries, special advisers and heads of agencies to each donate N500,000 in April 2020 and subsequent donate 50 per cent of their salaries monthly until the quarantine ends.
Other categories of political appointees would equally be making monthly donations to support the provision of relief to the low income, poor and vulnerable residents of the state.