By Archibong Jeremiah
The staff of College of Health Technology, Calabar, Cross River State has joined the league of Civil Servants employed in 2017 and 2018, delisted from Government payroll to demand for their wages.
Before Monday, 30 November, 2020 that the staff of College of Health Technology Calabar embarked on strike to press home their demands, it was just the aggrieved 1 700 Civil Servants that were on the neck of the Sen. Ben Ayade administration for its wages.
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Cross River State chapter Chairman, Comrade Bright Ewona and the institution’s Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnic Chairman, Comrade Effiong Archibong both in separate interviews berated the State Government.
There has been several protests this last quarter of the year (2020) in the State ranging from #EndSARS, Concerned Lawyers, #RevolutionNow, and the 1 700 Civil Servants Four days protest.
We’re Let Down Reading On Social Media That Government Has Employed 10 000, 20 000 While We Die – Comrade David Iya-Nya, Leader of 1 700 Civil Servants
In a statement dated 15 December, 2020 signed by the Leader of the aggrieved 1 700 Civil Servants, David Iya-Nya, the group expressed dissatisfaction that: “Recalled that on the 26 of September 2020 we alongside our 2015 colleagues who were delisted from the Cross River State payroll embarked on a mass protest that lasted for four (4) days before the intervention of the State Governor, His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade.
“After interfacing with us at the Murtala Mohammed Highway Calabar, His Excellency ordered for an immediate verification exercise for all protesting Civil Servants. The exercise which commenced on the 2 of October, 2020 lasted for nine (9) days which got all of us the affected staff verified.
“It’s interesting to note that after the exercise, our 2015 colleagues got their October salaries with a promise that the 2017/2018 category as well as the Magistrates will access their salaries from November.
“It’s heartbreaking that all efforts made to know why we were not paid November salaries as promised has fallen into deaf ears, no effort by Government negotiating team to brief us with the latest development in order to assuage our pains and worries as to why we weren’t paid November salary.
“It’s rather sad and disturbing that a Government will employ us after following due process, appointment letters issued without salaries for upward 20 to 36 months yet, goes to work. It’s even more disheartening that, we read on the social media everyday how the Government of Cross River State employs 10 000, 20 000 people and so on yet, we who were genuinely employed to fill in the widening gap in the Civil Service occasioned by retirement …
“We are all aware of the devastating vacuum that will be created in the Cross River State Civil Service by 2021/2022 if urgent steps are not taken. It’s worthy also to note that Cross River State with over 150 or more Magistrate Courts has only about 61 Magistrates to dispense justice causing some Magistrate to superintend over two, three or more Courts.”
We’re Owed November Salary, They’re Threatening Us, We’re Resolute – Comrade Bright Ewona, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Cross River State Chairman
“The sudden suspension of CONPCASS/CONTEDISS salary structure of the College of Health Technology Calabar staff is not acceptable.” That is the words of Comrade Bright Ewona, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Cross River State Chapter Chairman in an interview.
Lamenting the ordeal of his members who are currently on strike and are owed November salary, Comrade Bright disclosed that his institution had suffered sidelining for five (5) years during the implementation of the salary scale in 2013.
According to him, “The salary scale is the legitimate entitlement of the College Staff as a mono-technic training at National and Higher National levels being accredited and regulated by the Technical Board for Education since 1994.
“The College has been mobilising candidates for NYSC since 1994 till date (December 2020). The structure was implemented by National Salaries Income and Wages Commission in 2011 and domesticated in 2013.
“Others like College of Education Awi, Akamkpa, Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), Information Technology Management (ITM) Ugep started benefiting since 2013 and College of Health Technology was not paid until September 2018 and suspended a year later (2019) without any reason.”
He urged the administration of the learned Senator to heed to the cry of the masses and “immediately implement the salary scale because it is against known laws”.
Continuing his lamentation, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, College of Health Technology, Cross River State Chapter Chairman maintained that, “Government have been engaged on this matter severally even before implementation and after suspension, there have been correspondences sent across, meeting has been held with Government representatives like the Head of Service, Accountant General , Auditor General, Commissioner for Education, SA Labor etc.
“After several communication spanning over one year asking for what is due to us, effecting the reversal but we have not gotten any response, the workers went on strike November 30, 2020.”
He berated the Government for employing negative tools in tackling the situation maintain that they will remain resolute to the end. His words: “The Government have employed different level of intimidation, threats to union leaders, withheld of salary even after working an entire month. We won’t change our mind.”
It Is Undemocratic, Inhumane To Remove Salary Structure Enjoyed By Sister Institutions – Comrade Effiong Archibong, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnic, College of Health Technology Calabar Chapter Chairman
The Chairman Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnic, College of Health Technology Calabar Chapter, Comrade Effiong Archibong has berated the Cross River State Government for removing CONPCASS/CONTEDISS salary structure from his institution.
According to him in a separate interview said, “It is very sad that we find ourselves in this situation. The Government has no moral justification to stop the salary of members of the College, this salary we are talking about have been worked for.
“In my opinion it is undemocratic, unjustifiable and unhumane for the Government to act in this way, it is not done like this in anywhere, the laws are there.
“The rule say you must pay them for at least three month before you implement the no work, no pay rule. This issue must not go on like this.
“The way forward is for the Government to pay their salary, all we are asking for is restoration of our salary structure dropped for no reason, no meeting or whatever means was used to engage us. Our members are suffering …
“Some are indebted to the banks, the Government should come to the table … So, what is right is for the Government to pay, other institution in the State is enjoining this structure.”
He concluded by stating that, “We don’t know why they dropped it, it should be restored as it is not just in Cross River State that it is in practice … It is inhumane.”
No Response From Government
The office of the SA Labor to the Cross River State Governor was contacted for comment but as at press time, they’re yet to respond.
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