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Cross River gets ultimatum to pay workers


Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade

Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in Cross River State chapter, has given the state government a 21-day ultimatum to settle all outstandings owed workers in the state.

Matching through major streets of Calabar on Tuesday, the workers said the state government is owes workers three months salaries, and as such, they have given 21 days ultimatum for government to pay up and also honour the agreement entered into with labour in October last year.

Numbering over 200, the workers sang through major streets with placards saying,”governor Ben Ayade please take prompt action on the plight of retirees, the death toll of Cross River state retirees risen, many are bed ridden and cannot access medicare for lack of fund, Cross River state is not a personal business.”

Briefing the workers before a protest rally called in solidarity with Nasarawa state NLC, whose members were murdered over labour related issues, the Cross River State Labour Chairman, Comrade John Ushie, said: “as much as we sympathise, mourn and condemn the gruesome killing of workers in Nasarawa state, while driving home their legitimate demands, workers in Cross River state should take note of what they are doing.

“As we talk now, many are sick and many are dying. What pensioners are passing through in the state is a pity and it is something that is worrisome. We are not here because of the gratuity and pension but because of the national rally called in solidarity with NLC in Nasarawa state. But we want you to take note that we have given Cross River State 21 days ultimatum to obey the agreement they entered into with us in October 2015.

“Among the issues are that of pension and gratuity. Another is the promotion of workers from 2013 to 2015. The third issue is that Cross River state government is owing salaries for three months.

“I say so because salaries are paid on net but the government deducted salaries of workers in June 2015, July and August, and has not remitted. That deduction was meant for the building of labour house. They deducted the money and refused to remit to labour.”

From findings, the state has paid salaries regulary but the deduction has been an issue.
Besides the issues of state workers salaries, Local government workers in the state are also being owed salary for three to four months in the state plus other allowances.

He said “the 21 days ultimatum is just a signal, and we will follow due process, after the 21 days, we will give 14 days, after that we will give the final warning of seven days, if nothing is done, the strike will be total.”

He said, “there is no promotion, inadequate permanent secretaries. In some ministries, retired permanent secretaries are staying back as consultant. You go to work today, no imprest to work with.“

The protest match took the workers from Freedom Park through Mary Slessor, Calabar road, IBB, Marian and back to Labour office off Marian.

The NLC said the state government had entered an agreement with labour last year to sort out outstanding issues but has reneged.

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Ben AyadeNLC
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