By Aplefe Ojong
The National Leadership of the Nigerian Labor Congress, (NLC) has been called upon to urgently call the Cross River NLC to order to avert division of the labor movement in the state.
Mr. Godwin Ayendi, State President of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), made the call while reacting to the suspension of his union by the state NLC.
Comrade Ayendi said the call was imperative to avoid opening a new front of bickering at a time everything was being done to “heal wounds at the top and seal labor unity.”
He explained that the state NLC has no constitutional right to suspend any affiliate as it is required to report erring affiliates to the national leadership for investigation and further necessary action.
“Rather than engage in dividing the labor family in the hope of advancing personal gain, the state leadership of NLC should run an inclusive administration and be accommodating of positive ideas from others”, he stated.
The NULGE President said the purported suspension of his union by the state NLC was in furtherance of an alleged threat to sanction it if it failed to allow deductions from its members’ salary for the construction of a Labor House in the state.
“The purported suspension of NULGE from the activities of the state NLC is therefore the state leadership’s idea of carrying out the threat of sanctions if NULGE failed to key into the scheme to short change workers of Cross River State of their hard earned wages for the secretariat project,” Comrade Ayendi stated.
He further called on the state government to refund whatever illegal deduction made from salaries of NULGE members in respect of the secretariat project.
According to him, “the fraudulent acquisition of the then governor’s approval by the state leadership of NLC to defraud the workers of Cross River state is a fundamental breach to the worker’s right to all of his wages.
“In these times of economic hardship, nothing should be done to further diminish the take home of the Civil/Public servant in whatever guise,” the NULGE President said.
He said NULGE arrived at the decision to stop the deduction from its members salaries following the discovery that the approval plan of the proposed secretariat the bills of quantities and estimated cost of the project as at the time of the levy were not provided.
It will be recalled that the NLC in a press briefing last week by the state Chairman, Comrade Joseph Ushie, announced the suspension of the National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT for abstaining from the last strike the NLC called in the state to protest the failure of the state government to keep the terms of an earlier agreement.
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