Cross River Workers Down Tools Indefinitely

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar

Wokers of the Cross River State Government who are members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), on Tuesday commenced an indefinite strike as a result of industrial dispute between them and their employers.

The workers through the labour centres announced that they were resuming the strike which they suspended about two weeks ago because the state government has failed to implement its own parts of the agreement it reached with the organised labour in the state on May 30, 2017.

The workers are also not happy that the state government has allegedly failed to use the N11 billion Paris club refund money to meet up with some of their demands.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress, and their Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), had on May 30, attempted an indefinite strike action, but suspended the plan at the last moment when the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade, intervened.
Consequently, a meeting chaired by the state deputy governor, Professor Ivara Ejemot Esu, between the representatives of the state government, and the representatives of the organised labour was held to resolve the issues that were in contention.

At the end of the meeting, the following resolutions were announced as part of the agreement for the state government to implement : “Promotion exercise of deserving Civil/Public servants shall resume forthwith and letters released while financial implications will be worked out by the Head of Service and Commissioner for Finance for His Excellency’s consideration. Every aspect of Payroll Consultancy should be domiciled in Cross Rive State including the servers and the personnel;

“The Commissioner for Finance, Accountant General and Labour are to investigate the actual deductions from salaries of staff and stop same if confirmed. The Report of Verification and Audit exercise by the Payroll Consultant shall be made available to Labour by the Commissioner for Finance. Full payment of outstanding Gratuity of retirees in the state civil/public service for the period June – December, 2013 shall be made while outstanding gratuities for the year 2014 is to be computed for consideration. Payment of monthly impress to MDAs to be released 1st week of every month while that of May, 2017 is to be paid immediately”.

The resolution also stated that: “His Excellency has approved the operation of motor parks on 50/50 (percent) basis between NURTW (National Union of Road Transport Workers), and other parties, particularly at Etim Edem Motor Park and other parks in Calabar. However, the matter is to be referred by the SSG to the Executive Council for final resolution within two weeks;

The resolution was signed by the state’s Head of Service, Mr. Ekpenyong Henshaw, and three others on behalf of government, while the NLC Chairman, Comrade John Ushie and five others signed on behalf of labour.
However, as of the close of work last week, the Organised labour said the state government was yet to implement any aspect of the agreement both parties reached at a round table before plans to embark on strike earlier was suspended.

The Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC) in the state, Comrade Thomas Igbang, who commented on the decision of the workers to down tool said, “They have not implemented what was agreed in the last meeting that we held on May 30. So, it is a resumption of the last strike action. We are striking on all the issues, especially the promotion that was suspended. The strike is indefinite”.