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Cross River Civil servants embark on indefinite strike over non-payment of retirees’ pension, gratuity

Cross River

CROSS RIVER, Nigeria – Civil servants in Cross River State have commenced an indefinite strike action in protest of the non-payment of pensions and gratuity to retired workers in the state.

Our correspondent who monitored the strike action at the old and new secretariats and other government offices in the state on Monday observed a total shutdown of services in the offices.

Some workers who spoke to our correspondent lamented the non-payment of pension and gratuity to retired civil servants noting that one day they will also retire from service.

They said that they refused to go to work in obedience to an order by the state council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) asking them to stay at home for an indefinite strike.

However, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which is an affiliate of NLC has ordered its members to ignore the stay at home order by the NLC.

It was learned that members of NLC went on strike while TUC members were at their duty posts. Regrettably, members of TUC were at work while the strike called by NLC was very effective as the two-state secretariats near the governor’s office and that of the Murtala Mohammed highway were virtually deserted.

A member of the NLC negotiating council who preferred not to be named said: “We have ordered our workers to stay at home indefinitely because the present government has refused to consider the interest of workers..

“The government has refused to pay outstanding gratuities to both state and local government retirees from 2014. There has not been any implementation of promotions for both state and local government workers.

“All workers whose names were removed from the payroll illegally have not been reinstated; there has not been any weigh-in allowance to workers in the radio, television, theatre arts and paper printing workers in the state, amongst others,” he said

On his part, the Vice Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the state, Comrade Gabriel Effiong insisted that TUC was not carried along by NLC while declaring a strike action.

In a press statement he signed along with his secretary, Comrade Ken Bassey, TUC claimed as follows “The issues warranting the ultimatum, namely, National Minimum Wage; implementation of promotion; restoration of names into the payroll, etc, are issues that were collectively negotiated by organized labour, the joint council, the TUC and the NLC.

“The fourteen days ultimatum which was issued without consultation with other stakeholders in the labour space is an overreach, ill-timed, ill-advised and cannot enjoy the support of the TUC.”

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