The Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita, says the strike action called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state has been a complete failure.
Ita in a statement issued in Calabar on Wednesday, said several labour bodies including the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which is a trade union of equal coordinate as the NLC, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and the Joint Public Negotiating Council, have continued to shun the call for strike because the action is illegal and unconscionable.
Ayade’s spokesman disclosed that in spite economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cross River has fully implemented the new minimum wage.
On the outstanding issues with labour, Ita said:
“The government had long resolved other outstanding issues with labour, but for the lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, there was nothing much the government could do but wait for the complete easing of the lockdown.
“It is therefore insensitive, unconscienable and mischievous on the part of the NLC to pursue selfish and narrow agenda in the guise of defending workers’ interest.”
Ita further noted that the antics of labour have fallen flat as their hidden agenda has been exposed.
According to the governor’s aide,
“the unilateral call for strike by the NLC violates the extant rules governing the declaration of trade dispute.”
He said besides the fact that the strike is illegal, it is morally reprehensible that a labour Union will call workers out on strike at a time economies are reeling under the debilitating effect of the coronavirus pandemic, that has led to loss of revenues leading to consequent job losses and even a slash in salaries of both public and civil servants by some states.
“Some states with significantly higher federal allocations than Cross River have since slashed workers’ salaries without labour calling out workers on strike. Rather that join these states to reduce workers’ salaries, Cross River, in spite of receiving second to the least allocation in the country, has during this period of COVID-19 pandemic implemented the new minimum wage in full.
“As it becomes apparent that their ill-advised call for strike has failed, the leadership of NLC has become desperate to the extent of physically assaulting workers who show up for work. This is clearly an illegal act, which government will not tolerate.”