By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar
Organized Labour in Cross River state has issued a notice to the entire workforce including Local and state government workers to stay at home from Tuesday till further and await further directives.
This was contained in Bulletin 1 titled “Commencement of Strike Action” signed by Cross River state organised labour.
Labour warned civil servants at both LG and state level to stay at home from today as the strike was to drive home various demands including non-payment of gratuity of LG retirees from 2012, State civil servants from 2014, non-implementation of promotion
In a notification letter addressed to governor Ben Ayade, obtained by Vanguard and signed by Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Com. Ben Ukpebi NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, Com. Monday Ogbodum as well as the State Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, JNC, Com Godwin Otei respectively stated that following various reminders and ultimatum issued to the government, there has been no response, they had no choice than to embark on the strike.
“The Organized Labour in the State, comprising, Nigeria Labour Congress
(NLC). Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and the State Joint Public ServiceNegotiating Council (JNC) convened a workers congress on Wednesday 6 October 2021 to deliberate on all the outstanding labour issues in the State.
“At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that in view of the numerous ultimatums
and reminders were given to the Government over the issues and the Government refused to address them, a further 3 days notice with effect from Thursday, 7 October to Monday 11th October 2021.
“It was further resolved that, failure on the part of Government to address these
issues will result in the withdrawal of the services of the workers across the state for purposes of emphasis, the issues in contention are: Non-implementation of promotions to workers of both State and Local Government Workers.
“Non Payment of Gratuities to both State and Local Government Workers, non-remittances of deductions from workers salaries, full implementation of Minimum Wage to both State and Local Government Workers amongst others,” they stated.
Speaking with Vanguard, Chairman of TUC in Cross River, Com. Monday Ogbodum said Organised labour in the state was now scared that workers active and retired may never get their due owing to the fact that this administration has barely one year and six months to leave office.
According to Ogbodum, they (labour) may not even have the moral justification to hold the next administration accountable if they can’t do anything now adding that they were left with no other option than to down tools.
His words: “Gratuities are not being paid for Local Government workers it’s from 2012, while state civil servants it’s from 2014 what is even more worrisome is that fact that 90 % of the workforce would be leaving by 2023, this spells real doom for us.
“Another disturbing issue is that of non-remittance of deductions by the government to banks, many of them (workers) who got loans from banks are suffering because after the government deducts from their salaries yet they don’t remit to the banks, by this act, any other fund that hits their accounts is collected by banks leaving the civil servants stranded.
“Many who are living in mortgaged houses are in a serious crisis of paying interest because any month you default, you have to also pay the interest, so it’s a difficult time for Cross River workers, we are really scared.
“There is nothing political about the strike, it just happened that the governor is not in the state at the moment, but that doesn’t mean he left with government, and anyone who claims that we waited for him to leave should understand that we follow due process, and we have been on this matter for months,” he said.