After weeks of strike, Labour returns to the negotiation table with Governor Ben Ayade’s government

Workers in the state on October 12 embarked on an indefinite strike over non-payment of gratuities to retired civil servants from 2014 to date, among other issues.

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River

Godwin Otei, the chairman of the Cross River Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC), says the organised labour in the state will return to the negotiation table with Governor Ben Ayade’s government.

Mr Otei disclosed this on Thursday at a meeting held in Calabar to update workers with the current situation in the labour-government industrial impasse.

Workers in the state on October 12 embarked on an indefinite strike over non-payment of gratuities to retired civil servants from 2014 to date, among other issues.

The chairman noted that labour’s 14-point demand included non-payment of gratuities to state and local government workers, non-implementation of promotions of state and local government workers and other issues.

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He further explained that of the 14-point demand, the government agreed to resolve eight with labour, including implementing promotion, payment of gratuities, non-remittance of deductions from workers’ salaries and others.

Also, the chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Cross River, Ben Ukpepi, thanked the workers for their perseverance.

“No one can undermine the powers of the civil servants in the state because, without their will and muscle, no wheel of government can turn. We are all out for the government and not afraid. We must do the right thing at the right time,” said Mr Ukpepi. “If the state government had been keeping N10 million every month since 2012, we would have had enough to pay off the gratuities.”

The Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Monday Ogbodum, sought to know whether workers would want the strike suspended to allow the government time to implement the eight resolved issues.

However, Mr Ogbodum’s statement enraged the workers, who insisted that the strike should continue, pending the resolution of the remaining six demands. They unanimously gave the labour leaders the approval to return to the negotiation table with the government.

 

(NAN)

 

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