By Jonathan Ugbal
The organized labor in Cross River State Wednesday defied the ‘No Work No Pay’ directive of the Cross River State Government on Day 12 of the indefinite strike action which has crippled economic activities in the state.
Members of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) sealed off all government buildings excluding the U.J Esuene stadium and Governor’s office, barring civil servants from gaining entrance.
The unions blocked the entrances with private and union vehicles mostly ‘donated by the Cross River State Government’ and locked the gates allegedly broken open by ‘Governor Ayade.’
Union members could be seen gathered in groups of four to eight discussing topical issues across the state.
They are protesting the alleged doctoring and non-implementation of a 13 point agreement reached by the Labor and Government on May 30, 2017 after a 24 hour strike action with accusations and counter accusations from both sides as Government says it has met all labor demands.
“Until the Governor calls us and begins implementation of the 13 point agreement, we will be here (on strike),” Comrade Oyongha Edim, the Chairman JNC told CrossRiverWatch Wednesday morning while inspecting offices to ensure strict compliance to Labor’s directives. He added that the JNC began with smaller offices and may move to shutdown Governor’s office tomorrow.
Meanwhile, a new Bulletin issued by Labor; Bulletin 14 titled “Co-Gov unbind the Gov” told workers that; “The defacto co-Gov, has vowed that no worker will be promoted…. What a state indeed.”
It further read: “We are in a democratic dispensation. Not authoritarian government or dynasty.
“Defacto co-Governor come and test your popularity in 2019. We must not allow Cross River State to collapse. Ayade, borrow a leaf from your predecessors, they promoted workers and implemented without strike.
“Ayade, pay your fathers and mothers their gratuities. Ayade come, Ayade go, Cross River State civil service remains. On Full implementation of our Agreement we still stand. Non Cross Cross Riverians piloting the HOA (House of Assembly), we know you.
“Okorocha style will not work in Cross River State. Enough is Enough of this Kalokalo style.”
Labor has released more bulletins between May 27, 2017 and June 28, 2017 (10) than it has done from January 1 to May 26, 2017 (4).
The current action is in defiance to the position of the Cross River State Government made known during the weekend that it will not pay workers who fail to resume for duties on June 28, 2017.
Governor Ben Ayade had said these following allegations that the leaders of the organized labor in the state have refused to come to the negotiating table with the government.
A statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Rosemary Archibong said Government had fulfilled all demands presented for resolution which informed the Governor’s directive that all heads of MDA’s ensure that all offices are open by 8:00 AM on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
Ayade also gave the clearance for heads of MDA’s to obtain the appropriate services that they may require recruitment, procurement or outsourcing and warned that all MDA’s must be functional or their heads will be held responsible.
Mrs. Archibong said that the directives of government were in the interest of Cross Riverians as “The State Government has a responsibility to keep the wheels of Government machinery turning in (their) best interest.”
She added that: “Once more, we hereby reiterate, that the no work no pay clause has been invoked. Please be guided.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ayade who departed Calabar for Abuja this afternoon and scheduled to return on Friday according to information reaching CrossRiverWatch, has directed the Commissioner for Finance, Accountant General and the Head of Service to begin the process of paying workers who report for work.
A statement signed by his spokesperson, Mr. Christian Ita and issued Wednesday said that the payment is for June and strictly for workers who have been at their duty posts while the strike has lasted.
“The Governor expects the salaries to be paid before the end of the week,” the statement read.
The statement has drawn mixed reactions following its circulation on Social Media by the Governor’s Social Media team.
The labor team met with the Cross River State Elders Forum led by Colonel PAM Ogar (rtd) Wednesday afternoon at the Pyramid Hotel with no information regarding details of the meeting as at press time.
In a related development, Governor Ayade has approved the appointment of Mr. Effiong Ita Umoh as Special Adviser on Labor matters with immediate effect.
Mr. Umoh was until his recent appointment, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Labor Matters.
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