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Labour unions shut down public offices in Cross River over ‘non-payment of gratuities’

Labour unions shut down public offices in Cross River over ‘non-payment of gratuities’
October 12
15:28 2021

Labour unions in Cross River, on Tuesday, shut down public offices, including schools and hospitals, over the alleged refusal of the state government to meet their demands.

The labour unions involved are the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC).

The gates of the state secretariat were locked, while many other public offices were also put under lock and key.

Secondary school students in several parts of Calabar metropolis were asked to return home following the closure of some schools, while the main entrance to the General Hospital, Calabar, was also closed to the public.

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The unions said the action followed the failure of the state government to heed to its numerous ultimatums issued over its demands.

A statement jointly signed by the chairmen of the unions listed 14 issues in contention, which included “payment of gratuities to our retirees of both state and local government, pending since 2014 and 2012 for state and local government retirees, respectively”.

Other are the “remittance of deductions from workers’ salaries, full implementation of the minimum wage, implementation of promotion arrears, and reinstatement of pensioners wrongfully removed from payroll”.

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Reacting to the development, Effiong Umoh, special adviser to the governor on labour matters, said most of the demands by the unions have been met.

According to NAN, he said the unions had not exhausted all avenues for dialogue before embarking on an indefinite strike.

“The labour gave warning on Thursday and we called them for a meeting on Friday, but they refused to come because they know they were to commence strike on Monday,” Umoh said.

“We will continue to appeal to them to consider the financial situation of government.”

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