Nigeria

NLC to embark on Indefinite strike in Akwa Ibom over unpaid entitlements

The Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), Akwa Ibom State branch, Comrade Sunny James, has said the Union may join the planned national strike due to continued refusal of the state government to pay workers entitlements.

Comrade James who said all is not well with workers especially local government workers in Akwa Ibom explained that if the planned strike action by the national body of the union sails through, that of workers in the State would be indefinite.

The State NLC chairman told Journalists on Thursday that the government has failed to pay gratuity to council workers for 10 years, and has not implemented promotion arrears among others.

According to him, ”This means that every other office 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 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.”

Comrade James said the issue of the 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”.

”It is very unfortunate that they have not accessed their money since 1989, that 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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