Akwa Ibom workers threaten strike

NLC Strike

By Isaac Job

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Akwa Ibom has said it may proceed on an indefinite strike over the continued refusal of the state government to pay workers entitlements. Speaking to newsmen in Uyo, state chairman of NLC, Comrade Sunny James, said workers in Akwa Ibom State will not hesitate to join the planned national strike as all was not well with them, especially local government employees.

James, however, threatened that if the planned strike by the national body of the union sails through, that of workers in the state would be indefinite.

He explained that the government has failed to pay gratuity to council workers for 10 years, and has not implemented promotion arrears among other laxities.

‘’This means that every other offices will receive their pensions and then those in the local government system would not.

Discussions on this have been going on for some weeks now with the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and I do hope that the government would give peace a chance to allow benefits go to whoever it is due.

‘’For gratuity, we are not doing well in Akwa Ibom State.

There has been a halt since 2016 in the civil service gratuity, no explanation has been given to us four years along the line.

‘’In the Local Government administration, since 2010 it has not been paid to teachers; since 2012, it has not been paid to the local government workers.

Therefore 10 years after retirement you cannot collect your gratuity, so workers are not very happy.

‘’What is very burning at the moment is the non-implementation of promotion to Akwa Ibom workers. You have the letter but it is not implemented.

‘’We are getting very uncomfortable about it. If the strike proceeds as planned, those are some of the things we may have to ask the Akwa Ibom government to address before we go back to work.

If the strike is allowed, then the Akwa Ibom State government must solve our problems’’, he maintained.

James said the issue of next of kin of late Primary school workers was the most pathetic situation in the state, adding that, ‘’if God does not help you and you are a primary school teacher in Akwa Ibom and you die in service, that is the end of it because your next of kin will not access your money’’.

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‘’It is very unfortunate that they have not accessed their money since 1989, which is 31 years! But negotiations are ongoing and I want to appreciate the new Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

‘’If other commissioners of that Ministry had the same political will as he does today, then we would not have had this problem.

In the nearest future we may start to have adequate attention in that direction’’, he said.

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