Workers’ Strike: Ayade Invokes No-work-no-pay Policy

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Cross River State Governor Professor Ben Ayade, has invoked the no-work-no-pay policy against striking workers in Cross River State who downed their tools last week.

The state commissioner for Information and orientation, Mrs. RoseMary Archibong, who made the announcement in Calabar through a press statement, indicated that the state government may employ other forms of workers, even if it is temporary to keep the wheels of Government machinery rolling.

The statement read in part: “Sequel to the ongoing strike action and refusal of the labour to call off the action despite the fact that government has fulfilled the demands presented for resolution, Governor Ben Ayade hereby directs as follows: “All Commissioners and Heads of MDAs should ensure that all government offices are open for business on June 28, 2017;

“Governor further directs that all Commissioners and Heads of MDAs should obtain the technical or appropriate services that they may require through recruitment, procurement or outsourcing;
“Effective June 28, 2017, all ministries and departments must be functional and commissioners/heads shall be held responsible.

“The state government has a responsibility to keep the wheels of government machinery turning in the best interest of the generality of Cross Riverians.
“Once more we hereby reiterate that the no work no pay clause has been invoked. Please be guided.”

On June 19, wokers in the employ of the state government from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) commenced an indefinite strike as a result of the industrial dispute between them and their employers.
The workers through the labour centres, announced that they were resuming the strike which they suspended about three weeks ago because the state government had failed to implement its own parts of the agreement it reached with  the organised labour in the state on May 30, 2017.

The NLC, TUC, 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 gratuities 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 per cent  basis between the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), 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;

“Full payment of salaries of newly appointed permanent secretaries should take effect from June, 2017 while the arrears should be worked out for payment and appointment letters released forthwith. Labour to produce a List of all unpaid staff of LGAs and primary school teachers to government through the Commissioner for Finance for verification and payment. All deductions be paid to beneficiaries immediately after payment of monthly salaries. All other outstanding issues to be addressed in due course.”

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.
The Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC) in the state, Comrade Thomas Igbang had stated that:“They (Government) 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”.

But reacting to the strike by the workers last week, Ayade through his press secretary, Mr. Christian Ita, had stated that the state government does not know why the workers were on strike because government has met all their demands. The governor’s spokesman said the workers embarked on strike when the state government was making arrangements to pay their salaries for the month of June.