By Aplefe Ojong
Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke has reassured workers in the state that all the arrears of salaries owed them will be cleared before the end of May, 2015.
Imoke who gave the assurance while addressing workers at the occasion of the 2015 May day held at the Abraham Ordia Stadium, University of Calabar, Friday promised that the March and April 2015 salaries would be paid to the workers before the end of this month, asserting that “I will not leave salary arrears for Ayade”
He explained that from the inception of his administration, the interest of workers has always taken top priority as seen by his increment of the minimum wage from N6000.00 to N8000.00 and then to N18, 000.00, being the first state to have implemented the national minimum wage, thereby earning him the title of Labor Friendly governor (LFG).
The Cross River state Governor further explained that the fortunes of the state and workers started taking downward nose-diving about six months ago when the International Oil market crashed, thereby reducing the normal revenue accruable to the state at about 35 percent.
Imoke lamented that the hard times has made it look like he has become the workers albatross as salaries were now being owed by the government, but assured that some of the issues raised by the labor leaders in their addresses would be handled before he leaves office, making sure that the incoming government is not left with undue burden regarding workers rights and demands.
He commended the labor leaders and workers for the cordial relationship that has existed between government and workers which made the state a model, and the women workers who labor every day and still return home to take care of the family.
In his address, the Cross River State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade John Ushie has demanded the implementation of the 5 percent yearly salary increase promised by Imoke, revenue of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), Promotion of deserving workers without written examinations from 2012-2015, the release of fund to bring the remaining digital printing machine for Government Printing Press.
Other demands include the need for government to meet the demands of CRUTECH, the Judiciary workers, Medical and Health workers, Teachers, and the granting of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) access to the motor parks, payment of pensioners’, clearing of the salary arrears, among others, while commending the governor for the cordial relation that has existed between labor and government.
On his part, Chairman, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Comrade Clarkson Otu Esq, called for urgent steps to be taken to address the CRUTECH issues, the payment of salary arrears to workers and the demands of the Judiciary staff, while commending the government for the peaceful outcome of the 2015 general elections and its acceptance by the incumbent President, and while also applauding governor Imoke for the robust relation that exists between the government and labor in Cross River state.
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