BY RICHARD NDOMA, |
Members of the organised Labour in Cross River State, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress NLC), have shunned the annual celebration of May Day, calling on Governor Ben Ayade and security operatives to expedite action on the rescue of the abducted state NLC chairman, Comrade Ben Ukpekpi.
Ukpekpi was kidnapped on March 21, 2021 at his CROSPIL Estate residence by unknown gunmen at about 8:30pm and taken to unknown destination.
Instead of the May Day celebration, they gathered at a solemn assembly organised by leaders of the labour unions at the Survival Park in Calabar, where hundreds of workers converged to express their anger over the state governor’s inability to rescue the abducted NLC chairman.
In a speech delivered by the NLC vice chairman, Comrade Lawrence Achuta Esq, and TUC chairman, Comrade Monday Ogbodum, they called for payment of gratuities to retirees, suspension of automatic transition to pension payroll in the state.
“We appeal to Cross River State Government to restore this system that has served this state so well for many years.There is no sense in compounding the woes of retirees,” they said.
Other issues mentioned by the labour leaders included implementation of promotions, payment of the balance of national minimum wage, remittances of deductions from workers’ salaries to benefiaries, financial autonomy for judiciary and legislature at the state level.
Other issues raised were ban on payment of union dues by commercial drivers and tricycle operators, return of motor parks to NURTW, return of weigh-in-allowances to radio, television, theatre arts and paper printing workers in the state.
“Comrades, ladies and gentlemen, we are in no mood for celebration, we have been dealt with a heavy blow and may be down, but I want to assure all civil and public servants that we are not out,” Achuta added.