A’Ibom NLC Threatens Strike Over Workers’ Entitlement | Independent Newspapers Limited
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A’Ibom NLC Threatens Strike Over Workers’ Entitlement

Posted: Mar 1, 2016 at 5:43 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Idongesit Ashameri, Uyo

The Nigeria Labour Congress, Akwa Ibom State council says it is giving the state government 21 days’ ultimatum to sort out and reconcile all pending labour grievances or risk industrial action.

Labour accused the government of not only beeing insensitive to the plight of civil servants in the state but has stifled its economy to checkmate organised industrial actions.

The NLC, rising from the state Executive Council meeting of all industrial unions under yesterday, ?accused the government of not recognising the existence of Labour in the state.

Comrade Etim Ukpong, Chairperson of NLC in the state, explained that ?the meeting was necessitated by the state government’s unwillingness to address the backlog of workers’ grievances in the state dating back to over six years.

He challenged government to immediately ? ?sort out the issues to avoid problems.

“The state government fails to take into account the plight and lamentations of workers especially in the public sector and their dependents despite constant pleas and demands of Labour, especially the NLC. “Rather than engage the leadership of organised labour collectively in dialogue and ensure a balance of interest, where the workers would not be shortchanged, government has resorted to divide and rule tactics by trying to blackmail the labour movement, ignore the workers by hiding behind the economic leaness of the time,” he alleged.

Other pending issues the NLC sais are the “release and implementation of promotions of civil servants, payment of promotion arrears, refund of 7.5 per cent deducted from workers salaries in the name of contributory pension scheme, which was abrogated by the state House of Assembly since two years ago, payment of salaries to teachers taken over from community schools since 2013, payment of salaries to civil servants, nurses, doctors, house officers and other health workers employed since 2014.”

The NLC in a communique released at the end of the meeting also sued for recovery from Federal Government, the over N1 billion owed Akwa Ibom indegenes which was removed from ALSCON in Ikot Abasi.

Others are recovery of primary schools counterpart funding from the Federal Government, payment of arrears of four months salaries to local government workers in Ikot Ekpene, two months salaries to workers in  Abak, and a month’s arrears to workers in  Ikono, Ini and Uruefong Oruko local government areas.

“As we speak, nurses working in Local Government too are being owed the same arears. Teachers employed and sent to junior secondary schools under SUBEB must be paid. The Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs had rejected them and asked them to go to state secondary education board. As I speak, they have not got December salary.

“As if government’s blunt refusal to address lingering issues in those areas was not enough embarrassment to leadership of Labour and workers, government has in recent days added salt to already nagging injury by resorting to attacking, financially  blackmailing by economically crippling the union and the workers,” he lamented.

Referring to the recent face off between government and labour in the state due to the infamous re-introduction of Personal Income Tax (PITA), the NLC said it would not accept further re-introduction of taxes without proper agreement between labour and government.

The labour union tasked government to as a matter  of urgency, pay the newly recruited civil servants, National Union of Local Government Employees, Doctors, Nurses, the 5000 teachers recently employed, the  2013 absorbed teachers without delay.

The NLC Chairperson who accused government of using the machinery of consultancy to create confusion in civil service blamed misfortunes of the 77 teachers omitted during the biometric data capturing and others disenfranchised due to negligence on the parts of consultants, he therefore urged the state government to rather use services of civil servants in processing workers’ payments.

On the issue of check-offs said to be deducted and kept for months without remittance, the NLC said it suspects fowl play ?and threatens to block gates of the office of the Accountant General sooner than expected.

Evidently trying to secure employments of Akwa Ibom indigenes, the NLC demands restoration of redeployed Airport staff due to industrial actions and opined that sending of staff well-trained for Airport jobs into the mainstream civil service does not in any way redeem government of consequences of its failures to meet with expectations of the aggrieved staff.

The Labour union urged government to re-capitalise the Akwa Servings and Loans Limited for withdrawal of operating licence by Central Bank of Niger (CBN) might throw Akwa Ibom indegenes already employed back to the labour markets.