The Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress have threatened that the labour force will down tools in River State sequel Governor Nyesom Wike’s meddlesome stance and repressive tendencies towards its branch in the state.
In a jointly issued statement, signed by the NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba and the TUC President Comrade Quadri Olaleye, the labour unions maintained that no amount of vilification of the members of their state branch by the River State Governor can hinder them from demanding for justice for all the wrongs done.
According to the statement,Governor Wike has aside meddling with the operations of the union,deliberately refused to pay workers salaries in the state up to 7-months coupled with non-payment of pension arrears and gratuities to pensioners since 2015.
The labour union notes that it will embark on a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on September 8, 2020 to draw the attention of the world to the injustice meted out to the state’s NLC branch by Governor Wike.
Highlighting some of the misdemeanors of the Governor, the labour union cited; the unlawful sealing of the NLC Rivers State Council,witch-hunting, persecution and prosecution of trade union leaders on trumped up charges.
The statement read in part, “Not done with the sealing of the NLC Rivers State secretariat, hoodlums suspected to be sponsored by the state government invaded the sealed NLC Rivers State Council secretariat on the night of Tuesday, 21st July 2020.
Equipment and installations worth millions of naira were vandalized. Till today, no single arrest has been made.
“This wicked act has become the living nightmare of senior citizens who are being punished for serving the state. These pensioners are dying in droves as a result of neglect.
“The February and March 2016 salaries of teachers in Rivers state were not paid due to the biometric test ordered by the State Government.
“Health workers in Rivers State were denied their October 2017 salary due to their participation in the National JOHESU strike.
“Refusal to negotiate with workers’ organizations on salary adjustments consequent on the new national minimum wage.
“Since the enactment of the new national minimum wage of N30,000, there has been no collective bargaining agreement and enabling circular for the implementation of the new national minimum wage in Rivers State.
“The state government has also refused to conclude negotiations on consequential salary adjustments with workers’ in Rivers State and has also excluded all the tertiary institutions in Rivers State from benefitting from any consequential salary adjustment.
“The Rivers state government deployed hired thugs to attack workers both individually and as a group.
“The attack of trade union leaders and violent disruption of the Rivers State Executive Council meeting on August 27, 2020 was only an icing on the cake of Wike’s malfeasance.
“Refusal to remit statutory check-off dues to trade unions
By refusing to remit statutory check off dues to unions and the labour centres, the Rivers State government is projecting an overt agenda of suffocating trade unions in Rivers State to death in clear violation of Section 17 of Nigeria’s Trade Union Act.
The union stressed that.”If after next week’s protest, Governor Wike continues to hold labour in contempt and fails to redress our concerns, we will be left with no other option than to ground every socio-economic activity in Rivers State until the Rivers State Governor does the needful.