Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has vowed to go ahead with an indefinite strike beginning from Monday, June 29, 2020.
The union claimed that the state government has not shown seriousness with demands made by labour.
State Chairman of the NLC, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, who disclosed this during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Calabar, said it is obvious to all of us that the Cross River State government does not take the welfare of its workers seriously.
According Ukpebi, “all the plethora of workers’ issues presented to the government have been neglected and left unattended to.
“Recall also that some issues which the organised labour entered into an agreement with the government was abandoned, jetissioned and rejected by the government and no effort has been made in that direction.”
He listed some of the issues to include outstanding gratuities from 2014, non implementation of promotions, return of names illegally removed from the payroll and immediate return of weigh-in allowance.
Others are immediate payrolling of 2000 workers whose names were removed from the payroll, new hazard allowance for medical and health workers among others.
He advised workers to stay at home from Monday, June 29 until government responds to all lingering issues raised by labour, adding that the injunction secured by the government against the strike is aimed at buying time and firs not hold water.
But disociating itself from the planned industrial action, the Cross River State Chapter of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, said the time is not right for strike just as all unions were not carried along in the process.
Speaking in Calabar, the Vice Chairman of the TUC, Comrade Gabriel Effiong, mantained that the issues which prompted the planned action are being addressed by government and added that COVID-19 pandemic has also made it inauspicious to embark on an industrial action.
“We do not want to believe that the NLC is not sensitive enough to the socio economic environment. This ultimatum is unfortunate.
“The fourteen days ultimatum issued without consultation with other stakeholders in the labour space is an over reach, ill-timed and cannot enjoy the support of the TUC.
“We are well aware that the verification of suspended names from payroll was billed to commence before the COVID-19 induced restrictions on social gathering caused the suspension of the exercise.
“During this COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged the economics of the world Nigeria inclusive, all hands should be on deck to steer our economy to safe grounds, and not threats of industrial unrest.