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Labour mobilises to shutdown Rivers over Wike’s alleged harassment of workers

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You Must Obey Injunctions, Says Wike
Organised labour would on Tuesday shutdown Rivers State over Governor Nyesom Wike’s alleged continued harassment of labour unions in the state.

Labour, under the umbrella of the Trade Union Side (TUS) of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) has directed all public service employees to occupy Port Harcourt, the State capital and other cities in the state from Tuesday to drive home their demands that Governor Wike should govern the state within the ambits of the law.

In a statement yesterday, TUS Chairman, Abdrafiu Adeniji and Secretary, Alade Lawal, alleged that Wike has been terrorising labour leaders in the state for demanding for workers rights and turned thousands of workers in the state to his personal slaves. They urged workers to troop out en masse to join the mass protest, which it said would be spearheaded by the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

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TUS alleged that since the negotiations for consequential adjustment arising from the N30, 000 monthly National Minimum Wage was unilaterally aborted on 31st January 2020 Wike, has unleashed armed terrorists to be harassing and intimidating workers and their leaders to cow them and stop them from making further demands. They alleged that on 21st July 2020, Wike dispatched armed thugs to the NLC secretariat to vandalise their property during which installations and equipment worth millions of Naira were destroyed and chairperson of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) was abducted, detained at Government House, dragged to a magistrate court on trumped up offences and while undergoing trial, was kidnapped and his whereabouts remains a mystery till date.

Among some of the harassments Wike has caused them, they urged the workers to take their destiny in their hands by joining the mass action before the emperor masquerading as Governor of Rivers State wipes them out.

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Responding, the state government cautioned the NLC and TUC against willful disobedience of the National Industrial Court’s interim injunction, restraining them from embarking on strike. The State commissioner of Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim, said while they don’t want to join issues with them, it was pertinent that the workers adhere strictly to the tenets of the law. He sated that Wike believes in the rule of law and expects both unions to come to the National Industrial Court, Port Harcourt, on Tuesday to respond to the motion ex-parte filed by the State government against the planned strike.

Justice N. C.S Ogbuanya, had on Tuesday based a suit filed by the Rivers State Attorney General against the NLC, TUC and other defendants issued an injunction barring them from embarking on any form of strike between September 5-7 or any other date pending the hearing and determination of the substantive motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction filed by the state.

The unions would be protesting the non-payment of gratuity and pensions since 2019 as well as non-payment of promotion arrears since 2015. They noted that since the enactment of the new minimum wage, there has been no collective bargaining agreement and enabling circular for the implementation of the new minimum wage in the state.

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