By Our Reporter
The All Progressives Congress in Cross River State has berated the government for failing to pay retirees despite collecting NGN31billion largesse from the federal government in three installments.
The APC said the Governor, Benedict Ayade has instead choose to play to the gallery by paying “un-shortlisted members of staffs of Ministry of Justice, Internal Revenues Services(IRS), Cross River Geography Information Agency (CRGIA) plus many other casual staff of the garment factory and Cross River State Water Board.”
A statement signed and issued by the state publicity secretary, Mens Ikpeme broke down the figure collected, which he said was meant for “salaries, pension, gratuities, local government staffs salaries,” as follows:
“Breakdown of federal government largesse;
Bailout funds – 7.8 Billion
Paris club refunds(1) – 11.3 Billion
Paris club refunds(2) – 12 Billion
“For the past few months, Cross River State has been threatened with many strike issues ranging from victimization; gratuities paid to selected people, Non-payment of pension to retirees, violation of rules; placement of embargoes on promotions of workers, Non Application of provision of collective bargaining, unfair treatment of workers, Non observation of condition of work, use of consultants for disbursements and calculations of salaries/allowances should be abolished,” the statement read.
The APC said “several meetings were held between the labour union and the Deputy Governor; Prof. Ivara Esu in respect of the above mentioned. With Governor Ayade’s dubious attitude, he led the Labour Union to believe, their meetings with the Deputy Governor was as good as meetings with him. (They fell for that. Pity!)”
The APC said the government’s lack of ability to recognize that: “Lack of good working conditions especially salaries and promotions are the bogeyman of human economic. Ayade’s Government knows that inflation is biting the poor workers because inflation has gone beyond wages so that salaries keep vanishing on pay-day, cost of living sky rocketing by the day. Hunger keeps torturing these workers.
“Lack of provision of the aforementioned conditions shall impact on the state’s working condition, hence affect the economy.
“This can affect the progress of the state in building new facilities and meeting with growth challenges which shall lead to lack of security in the whole states as workers may betray and uproot the state machineries and institutions to profit wrong people.”
The current strike could lead to several months “where workers shall not go to work, student will not go to schools etc, such situation may cause many criminal hazard like armed robbery, kidnapping, prostitution, cultism and many bad societal vices,” the statement read.
“All Progressives Congress deems it that the tremendous increase in demand for improved working conditions shows that the Ayade led government still and cannot explain to workers that the value given to daily work force must equal wages received.
“If Ayade led government doubt the importance of her workers. The government should note that numerous strike actions for improved working conditions cause the loss of several working days – not a small loss for a single state.
“All Progressives Congress are firmly behind the Labor Union and the party is assuring the Union that All Progressives Congress is people friendly and Labor friendly. In the event of APC ruling the state, the party assures the Labor Union that all their challenges will be a thing of the past. The party calls on the Labor Union to support APC for a better tomorrow,” the statement read.
Labor had on Friday, last week embarked on an indefinite strike following allegations that the agreement in the last meeting with the state was doctored by the Secretary to the State Government, Tina Agbor.
Labor also accused her of failing to transmit the actual agreement to the Civil Service Commission which will have seen the directive to halt promotions, uplifted.
However, staff of some departments and agencies defied Labor’s directives as reported by CrossRiverWatch earlier in the week while the Governor’s spokesperson, Mr. Christian Ita wondered why they had to go on strike despite the state meeting all demands.
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