By Tina Ezin, Calabar
Government activities in Cross River State have been paralyzed as organized Labour commenced indefinite industrial strike action.
The strike action was announced yesterday by the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC) to drive home their demands of 14 points in a letter signed by the NLC Chairman, Ben Ukpebi, his TUC and TNC counterparts, Monday Ogbodum and Godwin Otei.
Various government offices and public schools were totally shut down as the strike commenced on October 12, 2021. Labour officials were seen in some of the government offices and schools enforcing the total indefinite strike action.
The complaints include non-implementation of the full 27.5% teacher’s enhancement allowance, non-implementation of promotions, non-remittance of deductions from banks, Non implementation of minimum wage among others.
They said the strike had become inevitable, as the state government had ignored reminders and ultimatums, insisting that industrial action was their last resort.
State government offices as well as tertiary institutions were under lock and keep as labour mounted watch at various entry points leading to offices.
Secondary and primary schools were not left out of the action strike as some workers were chased back to their homes and students were seen returning to their home.
Reacting, the Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Labour Matters, Mr. Effiong Umoh, said the action by labour was completely wrong because there was no court order backing them.
“Labour should not have called out it members to down tools and crippled activities of state government without any court order to do so.
“Most of the items in their list had already been met, except gratuity. Labour gave us three days warning on Thursday, so we asked them to sit down they refused saying that they will not sit down for anything and they walked out.”
On whether state government have plans to go to court to seek redress, Umoh said, “how can we go to court when we have not yet exhausted all avenues of discourse.” he said.