NLC demands valid, but timing is wrong
Says they will not participate in the strike
By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Cross River Council disclosed that Gov Ben Ayade never gave them money but they pulled out of the strike based on principle and collective conviction.
They stated their decision not to participate in the industrial action during a press briefing in Calabar.
Briefing newsmen, the Secretary of the Congress, Ken Bassey said as partners they agreed with the NLC adding that the demands were valid but the industrial action was ill-timed and in bad faith and therefore the TUC will not be part of it.
His words: “As partners and stakeholders, we agree with NLC that all the demands are valid and in order, the issue of promotion, deactivated employees from the payroll and so on.
“But as a labour centre, we asked if this was the right time, but it is not, the impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching, therefore, we did a rejoinder that TUC will not be part of it. How can you embark on strike when we are in perilous times, salaries are yet to be paid.
“We have extracted a huge level of commitment from the government and a lot of modalities have been put in place to meet many of the demands and by July a lot of things will have being sorted out.
“We have been branded anti-labour but we believe dialogue is still the best way out of this instead of strike action at this point in time.
“No member of the TUC has collected or received money from gov Ben Ayade, our decision not to be part of the strike is purely based on conviction and principles and it is not an easy decision.
“We did not collect a dime from the government, it is only normal at this point for the public to think of believe something like because of our stance on the matter, but the truth is we are doing this because we believe in the unity of our struggle.
“Labour matters are better and more effective when they are done in one voice, unity, it is not too good for us to create an impression to our employers that we are not speaking with one voice.
“TUC has never been and will never be the mouthpiece of the government ,we are basically technocrats, one of us was good at his job and Gov Ayade decided to bring him into his administration as the Auditor General, and he relinquished his position to work with the current administration.
“Our pulling out of the strike action by NLC was not done to please the government in any way, it was done out of our collective conviction and principles, we gave our decision a careful thought.
“We cannot be a mouthpiece of the government, we are labour leaders. If you are not seen fighting the government, a lot of people will believe you have collected money.
“We do not want to believe that the NLC is not sensitive enough to the social-economic environment,the Ultimatum and strike is unfortunate, really unfortunate.
“At this point which COVID-19 has ravaged economies of the world including Nigeria all hands must be on deck to steer our economy to safe grounds and not threats of industrial unrest.
“We do not think that industrial unrest at this time can solve any problem, we, therefore, disassociate ourselves and our affiliates from the strike,” Bassey said.