Bimbola Oyesola , [email protected]
More members of the organised labour movement, at the weekend, mobilised support for the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on the plan to occupy Rivers State tomorrow for an industrial action.
The Trade Union Side (TUS) of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) has directed thousands of public service employees to occupy Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, and other cities in the state from Tuesday, September 8, 2020, to drive home labour’s demands that Governor Nyesom Wike should govern the state within the ambit of the law.
The TUS chairman, Abdrafiu Alani Adeniji, and the secretary, Alade Bashir Lawal, expressed shock as they alleged that Governor Wike has decided to terrorise labour leaders in Rivers State for daring to demand workers’ rights and that the governor was determined to turn thousands of workers in the state into slaves.
The union emphasised the need for the workers to troop out en masse to join the protest spear-headed by the TUC and NLC from September 8, 2020, order call the governor to order.
The TUS also said, since the negotiations for consequential adjustment arising from the N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage was unilaterally aborted on January 31, 2020, the governor has allegedly unleashed armed thugs to harass and intimidate Rivers State workers and their leaders and so cow them from making further demands.
“Apart from demanding for the conclusion of the negotiations on consequential adjustment arising from the new National Minimum Wage, the labour leaders also demanded that all the withheld salaries of workers, pensions and gratuity as well as check-off dues to the trade unions in the state must be released.
“As far as Governor Wike is concerned, the workers have committed felony by making these legitimate demands and so on 2nd February, he despatched armed security operatives to take over the NLC secretariat in Port Harcourt, claiming that the government wanted to do structural integrity test for the building,” the group stated.
The labour leaders explained further that on July 21, 2020, armed thugs vandalised the NLC secretariat and installations and equipment worth millions of naira were destroyed.
It added that the chairperson of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) was abducted, detained at Government House, dragged to a magistrate’s court on trumped-up criminal offences and, while undergoing trial, was kidnapped and his whereabouts have remained a mystery till date.
“As if all these are not bad enough, Governor Wike again on 27th August, 2020, despatched his gang of goons to the secretariat of the Medical and Health Workers Union to unleash terror on NLC leaders who were meeting there, since the NLC secretariat had been sealed off by the governor.
“While the fracas was going on, some labour leaders were seriously wounded and no arrest has been made since then,” the unions stated.
The TUS emphasized the need for the workers to take their destiny in their own hands by joining the mass action before they and their families are wiped out in the state.
It equally called on millions of Rivers State citizens to join in the struggle.
“Today, Governor Wike is dealing with workers and their leaders and, if he is not tamed and he succeeds in conquering the workers and their leaders, he will descend on all the citizens of Rivers State,” the union said.
The group assured all workers that victory was very certain as far as the current struggle was concerned as no leader in the history of the world had succeeded in silencing the voice of the working masses.