By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar
Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Cross River State Council, has threatened to down tools should the state government failed to expedite action for implementation of N30,000 new minimum wage approved by the federal government.
Speaking on Friday in Calabar during a courtesy visit to the Head of Service (HoS), Mr Chris Itah, Labour Chairman, Com. Ben Ukpepi, stated that it was pertinent for the state government to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage.
Ukpepi said that it has become worrisome for workers in the state to be denied their rights to enjoy the new minimum wage that got approval by the federal government since April 2019.
Speaking further he warned that the union would be left with no other option than to call out its members to down tools, should state government fail to fulfil its own part.
His words: “Sir, you know the minimum wage was given approval since April last year, and a directive was given to us by our national headquarters that all negotiations with our respective state governments be ended in December 31st.
“It’s the reason we have come here to tell you that all action must be expedited for speedy implementation of the N30 minimum wage before things get out of hand.
“Unfortunately, no commitment from the government side was inaugurated for such purpose up till 31st of last month.
“This is why we have come to say please sir, start negotiations s as to avoid an uproar of Industrial Action in the state.
“We were happy when we just heard that state government had just given approval for a committee which awaits inauguration so that that committee will handle all issues regarding minimum wage.
“Our humble appeal is that you expedite every action so that our members can begin to enjoy new minimum wage like their counterparts in other states of the federation,” he said.
Ukpepi also called for speedy reinstatement of names of some civil servants whose names mysteriously disappeared from government payroll since September last year.
He said that it was illegal for anyone to delete the of any civil servant from the payroll without due process followed.
The Labour boss solicited for the employment of more hands to boost the already existing hands which according to him were already getting tired.
He said that the new hands would come and understudy the old ones adding that with the creation of new ministries by the present administration, the service needs new hands.
“Offices are empty! If we don’t employ young ones to come and understudy those who are in office, the service will soon die.I tell you, there are some hospitals that lacked doctors and nurses. Ukpepi maintained.
On his part, the Cross River State Head of Service HOS, Mr Chris Itah, stated that he would do everything within his capacity to tackle the issues at hand.
“The service under his watch will not witness any form of industrial disharmony. There is a committee headed by the Deputy Governor Prof. Ivara Esu to get all matters related to a hitch-free service resolved.
“Ayade is a strategic planner”, by God’s grace, I have a plan of working together with NLC in a very peaceful manner to ensure that government enjoy a peaceful relationship with you people until my tenure elapsed,” he said.
He assured that the government has been working assiduously to ensure that those who genuinely came into the service without having to pass through the backdoor are reinstated back to work.