The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, as well as the Trade Union Congress (TUC), in Cross River State, has announced an indefinite strike by workers of the state civil and local government services.
They listed 13 demands which they claimed the government had ignored after series of appeals.
The unions also claimed that they had no other option than to embark on such industrial action since government failed to implement their appeals.
The workers further accused that series of letters had been written to the state government and were ignored adding that 21 days, 14 days, seven days, and three days warnings were also given to the state government, all of which were ignored.
The NLC chairman, Ben Okpepi, and, Monday Ogbodum of TUC, supported by affiliated unions in the state while declaring the strike in Calabar, stated that, “We have sought all avenues for dialogue with the state government but we were ignored, and this strike is total and indefinite. We will rather go to jail than abandon our demands this time around because this government has just one year and six months to end and if we fail to have our demands met now, there will be no other auspicious time.”
Okpebi listed their demands to include; the non-implementation of workers promotion since 2016, nonpayment of gratuities to retired workers since 2014, failure to re-absolve 33 workers, whose names were wrongly deleted from payroll, refusal to move compilation of payroll from auditors to accountants, and failure to implement yearly step increment for workers.
“During the implementation of Minimum Wage in 2019, the organised labour agreed with the state government on a certain percentage and after a year, the minimum wage would be implemented in full but up till now, that has not been done and even the agreed percentage is done haphazardly.
“Even for those who have retired, gratuity is not paid. It will shock you to know that some workers in the local government who retired since 1990 have not received their gratuities and most have died. We cannot continue to live this way.
“The 27 per cent Enhanced Salary Allowance for teachers which the Federal Government approved has been implemented in other states, Cross River State is yet to do so and all efforts to make government do that have failed.
“We are not on strike against Governor Ben Ayade but the Cross River State Government. Our demands are important to us and should be met. We are open for dialogue at any time but for now, let all the workers down tools to press home our grievances until they hear from us,” he said.
He noted an implementation team had been set up to monitor and ensure complete adherence to the strike by all state government workers.