By Andy Esiet, Calabar
The organised labour in Cross River state comprising Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC) has called for a total strike action in the state with effect from today.
Consequently all Local government and state civil servants have been asked to stay at home till further notice as retired civil servants in the state have not received gratuity since 2012 ,2014, no remittance to banks after deductions by government and many other issues have been ignored by the government.
This was contained in notification letter addressed to Governor Ben Ayade and made available to some newsmen in Calabar yesterday.
The letter which was signed by the Chairmen of NLC, Comrade Ben Ukpebi; TUC, Comrade Monday Ogbodum that of TNC, Comrade Godwin Otei, said the strike action was inevitable as the state government had ignored various reminders and ultimatum issued to her hence the strike action was their last resort.
Among other things, the organised labour is protesting against “the 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, non implementation of 27.5 percent Teachers enhancement allowance, immediate stoppage of workers salaries for laptops without consent, inclusion of all staff employed but yet to be pay-rolled and others.
Others are stoppage of annual increment to state and local government workers, return of payroll to both the Accountant General and Ministry of Local Government Affairs for state and local governments and payment of salaries to workers wrongfully removed from the local governments payroll by the Auditor General among others.
The organised labour said with this trend, they are scared that workers in the state active and retired may never get their due owing to the fact that this administration has barely one year and six months to go and “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”.
The Special Adviser to the governor on Labour, Mr. Effiong Umo could not pick his calls but the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Publicity, Mr Christian Ita said, top government officials led by the Head of Service were as at yesterday meeting with the labour officials to resolve the issues raised but however said that on the issue of gratuity present government inherited part of it from the previous government so it is wrong for labour to say that if this government leaves office they may find it difficult to hold next government accountable.