By George Odok
Three labour unions in Cross River have dissociated themselves from the strike being planned by the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to commence on June 29.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the unions are Trade Union Congress (TUC), the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).
The TUC Secretary in the state, Mr Ken Bassey, while addressing newsmen on Saturday in Calabar, on behalf of other unions, said that the planned strike was “untimely and unfortunate.”
NAN recalls that the NLC had directed its members to stay away from work, starting from June 29 until their demands were met.
The congress had demanded for the payment of outstanding gratuities to both local and state governments’ retirees from 2014 till date as well as the implementation of the new minimum wage.
The NLC also demanded for the implementation of promotion for both local and state workers and the immediate return of names of workers allegedly illegally removed from the state payroll, among others.
The TUC secretary, however, said that the timing for the strike was untimely, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic that currently ravaging the world, with many institutions and government at all levels counting economic losses.
“The implementation of promotion is an ongoing process; there are delays and we agreed, but labour, including NLC, is well aware of the causes of the delay in implementation.
“The new minimum wage that was negotiated by the Joint Negotiating Council, NLC and TUC, has been implemented as of today.
“We are also well aware that the verification of suspended names from payroll was billed to commence before the COVID-19-induced restrictions on social gathering caused the suspension of the exercise.
“We are grateful that there is a gradual easing of restrictions and discussions are ongoing with the Head of Service on how best to address the issues”, he said.
Bassey explained that an agreement had been reached with the state government for the implementation of the demands, starting from July.
“We do not think or agree that crisis or threats of crisis will solve any problem. We dissociate ourselves and our affiliates from the ultimatum.
“As a labour centre, we and our members are aware of the sacrifices government is making to ensure prompt payment of salaries and we commend government for that”, he said. (NAN)