…..NLC threatens industrial action
By Harris Emanuel, Uyo
There is a general feeling of discontentment among workers in Akwa Ibom State over the reduction of the minimum wage by the state government.
This development has delayed the payment of June salary in the oil-rich state and there are strong indications that workers would down tools in the coming days.
Vanguard gathered that the state government slashed the wages to be at par with what the federal government is paying its workers, a development which has infuriated workers and organized labour in the state.
A senior civil servant told Vanguard that “print out is yet to be sent out. It is when it’s out and returned before salary is paid, but circular on the reduction has been issued by the state government and it has not gone down well with workers”.
State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Elder Sunny James, accused the state government of unilateral downward review of the minimum wage without the knowledge of labour.
According to him, organized would meet today (Wednesday) and thereafter write to the state government to refund the money deducted or risk industrial action.
He said, “We had a meeting on May 15 and May 26 on the subject and labour said it would be wronged for the salary of workers to be deducted. So, labour was not consulted and not aware of any approval to deduct the salary as such we are waiting for the full salary to be paid.
“The state government decided to review the minimum wage unilaterally and therefore NLC call on them to refund the money deducted or risk industrial action in the state.”
James maintained that the general well beings of the workers was paramount and would resist any attempt by the government to shortchanged them.
He debunked insinuations that the labour was dancing to the whims and caprices of the state government, adding that it would not shirk in its responsibility to engage the government on workers’ welfare.
Commissioner for Information, Charles Udoh said the reduction in the salary was a result of the dire economic situation in the country apparently occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic.