Joe Effiong, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has forced that state government to reverse the deduction of workers’ salary by 20% to assist in the prosecution of the anti-COVID-19 programme.
The state government had already commenced the deduction from June salaries to rhyme with those of political appointees which began in May.
With the hue and cry over the paucity of state funds, Governor Udom Emmanuel had appointed 155 new special assistants last week, with strong speculations of the appointment of another set of 900 personal assistants in the offing
Daily Sun gathered that the government was forced to reverse the deduction of workers salary after a meeting with the leadership of NLC in order to avert a possible crisis with the union.
The new appointees are said to have started enjoying some stipends in preparation for their formal appointments, while the new appointments follow a recent 20 per cent deductions of existing political appointees due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The government was said to have been planning to deduct workers salary before it was implemented in June, despite government and NLC agreement to put the deductions on hold.
NLC acting Secretary Mr Iboro Ibara, when contacted on the issue, confirmed the salary deductions but said the government had agreed to refund the deductions in the July salary.
He said the appointments of the 155 new special assistants and another 900 personal assistants was the prerogative of government, adding that labour was not opposed to the appointment of SAs by the governor as that would act as palliatives to the beneficiaries.
‘The government has reviewed its decision and has promised to refund whatever was deducted by July salary.
‘On the appointment of SAs, I don’t think labour has ever argued with employment. We wish everyone could be employed. We don’t have any issue with people getting employed or empowered.
‘I don’t think it is an employment, the government is providing palliatives probably to supporters of PDP; it is allowed. They are citizens of Akwa Ibom State and If their income improves, it is good for the economy of Akwa Ibom,’ he stated.