Lockout over 5000 workers from their offices
Protest unnecessary, Government &Labour already resolving situation — Ita
By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar
2,500 Civil Servants who were delisted from payroll by the Cross River State government on Monday barricaded the State Secretariat on Muritala Mohammed Highway, Calabar.
The Civil Servants whose names were delisted by the Ayade led administration 13 months ( August 2019) carrier play card with various inscriptions including “Ayade Pay us our salaries ” No Trade Union in Cross River ” “We will protest until we are reinstated ” “John Odey should be sacked ” amongst others decried their the illegal removal of their names by government.
Vanguard learned that the delisting started in batches from 2018 up till 2019 August and 2,500 Civil Servants were affected across the board by the Ayade led administration.
Speaking with Vanguard during the protest at the New State Secretariat in Calabar, Francis Inah said there situation was quite unfortunate and disheartening as many of them have not received salaries since 2018 while some have not been paid since August 2019 since their names were illegally removed from the payroll by government.
“We were duly employed in 2015 and due process was followed as many of us write the different examinations and were given employment letters by the Cross River State government but surprisingly for no reason many names were dropped from the payroll in 2018 and another large number in August 2019.
“The government said that many of us entered through the back door, we have been gone for various audits yet our names have not been reinstated to date, what crime have we committed.
“We are appealing to the Ayade led administration to take a cursory look into our plight because many of us are now homeless and our children are already out of school coupled with the impact of COVID-19, life is getting worse by the day,” he lamented.
Speaking further he said Labour in the state has also abandoned them to take up their fight alone vowing that they will not stop protesting until they(their names) were reinstated into the payroll and their salaries of over 1 year paid.
He said:” Labour has abandoned us both the TUC and NLC because it does not affect them directly 2,500 workers are directly affected by this injustice because we don’t know what our crime was before we were delisted from the payroll by the Ayade led administration.
“We can’t no longer keep quiet, we are dying by the day out of frustration and depression, because many of us have been receiving salaries for about 3 tears before our names were illegally removed and things turned from bad to worse for us and our families,” he said.
When contacted, The State Chairman of Trade Union Congress, TUC, Com Monday Ogbodum told Vanguard that they met with the head of Service on the matter and there will be a screening exercise this week to resolve the abnormally.
His words:” We have been discussing with the government through the office of the Head of Service to resolve the matter all in a bid to reinstate those workers who were genuinely employed in 2015.
“We are not keeping quiet about their plight, we are doing our best to resolve the matter, there are plans to carry out screening to know those genuine persons whose names were removed from the payroll this week,” he said.
On his part, the Special Adviser, Media &publicity to Gov Ben Ayade, Mr Christian Ita told Vanguard that the protest was unnecessary as Labour and government already concluded plans to carry out a screening exercise to ascertain the Civil Servants who were erroneously removed from the payroll.
Ita said:” The protest and barricading of the State Secretariat was not necessary because Cross River State Government and Labour including the Joint Negotiating Council, TUC, NLC signed an agreement in March this year to resolve the anormally but COVID-19 lockdown stalled the screening exercise on the day it was supposed to kick-start.
” Unfortunately, President Buhari announced total lockdown the day the screening exercise was to begin and the process was halted,
“As we speak we are in touch with Labour to begin the process of reinstating them back in the payroll, so there is no cause for alarm at all, all those genuine civil servants will surely be reinstated, he said.