Thursday, 14 May 2015

NLC Suspends Planned Strike in Rivers, Says March, April Salaries Payment Ongoing

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) said it has suspended a planned protest over non payment of salaries of civil servants in Rivers State.

One of the claimants to the chairmanship position of the NLC in Rivers State, Beatrice Tubo, said this at a meeting with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at a joint public negotiating council on Wednesday.

Tubo said that the Rivers State Government has commenced payment of March and April salaries to the civil servants.

She said: “We finally met with the government and some other perm secs and we all have agreed that government has started doing something; what we have asked for. So many banks have called us to confirm that they have received. We have been promised that by Friday they will commence the process of payment of April salaries as well. And being a responsible and organised labour, we saw that the issues we are canvassing have already been addressed and so we cannot continue with the action and we are calling on our members to be calm.”
She further assured workers that NLC would ensure that the present administration paid all outstanding salaries of workers before its exit.
“I am assuring the workers from what we have that since so many people have been paid that the process has commenced. We don’t want trouble. But they should be rest assured that nobody will exit with our money,” she added.

Earlier, workers and pensioners on Wednesday besieged the Rivers State Secretariat in Port Harcourt to protest the non-payment of their salaries and pension arrears by the state government.
The surrounding area of the secretariat witnessed a gridlock for some time as workers and pensioners chanted war songs, moved in droves to the secretariat at about 9am calling on the state government to pay their salaries and pensions.

One of the leaders of the protesting workers, Mr. Tony Ochiagha, told journalists that the protest became necessary as a result of the two months salaries owed them by the state government.
He said that it was the first time in the history of civil service in the state that workers would be owed for two months, while pointing out that the third month was already approaching.

He stated that pensioners, who were owed five months pension arrears were also going through tough times as they could no longer afford to pay their bills and feed well.

Ochaigha said, “We are talking to the Rivers State Government who is our employer. The civil service is the engine room and the platform on which every administration functions. So, why would they play on the impulse of the civil service?”

The state secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners in Rivers State, Joseph Agbo, said pensioners in the state had not been paid for five months.

Agbo urged Amaechi to pay them before leaving office, adding that apart from the five months being owed pensioners, other arrears such as the 14 per cent, 15 per cent and 38 per cent increases had not being paid, even when they had been computed and sent to the governor for action.

“Pension is a right and not a privilege. Before the governor came on board, salaries of civil servants and pensioners were regular, but all these are no more.
“We have, on six occasions, had demonstrations in the past over the anomalies and our members are dying without getting their entitlements,” he added.

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