Rivers Govt, Labour Clash As Workers Plan Showdown~NEWSEXTRA - News Extra Online



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Sunday, 6 September 2020

Rivers Govt, Labour Clash As Workers Plan Showdown~NEWSEXTRA

A SHOWDOWN is looming between civil servants and the Rivers State government. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Governor Nyesom Wike are unable to agree on welfare matters, which have heightened tension.

The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are mobilising for a protest tomorrow. The government said a court order had outlawed industrial actions pending the determination of a suit it filed against the TUC and the NLC.

Commissioner for Information and Communications Paulinus Nsirim and Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Prof. Zacchaus Adangor, during two media engagements at the weekend,  explained the court orders to workers.

Nsirim said the order, which was issued by the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos, stopped the labour unions from engaging in industrial actions, adding that copies of the order had been served to the unions.

Adangor said: “Every disobedience of an order of court constitutes contempt of court. The organised labour is therefore, warned against any act of overt or subtle disobedience of the substituting order.”

But the national and state leadership of labour dismissed the order, saying workers’ protest must go on as planned.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba, in a statement, warned Wike against harming workers during the protest.

Wabba said instead of trying to prevent industrial actions in the state, the governor should invest his efforts in resolving workers’ concerns in the state.

He listed such concerns as the payment of outstanding salary arrears, which he said, Wike had refused to pay,  especially teachers and health care workers promotion arrears since 2015; payment of pensions and gratuities to retired workers since 2015 and the issuance of official circular to effect the payment of the new national minimum wage.

Others grievances of workers are the conclusion of negotiation for consequential wages adjustment arising from the new minimum wage; remittance of withheld check-off dues deductions to unions, unsealing of Rivers NLC secretariat; the withdrawal of trumped-up charges against labour leaders in Rivers and cessation of harassment and assaults on workers in the state.

“We wish to reiterate that any attempt to disrupt our rally come Tuesday, September 8  would be another frontal attack against the Nigerian Constitution,” he said.

The Rivers State government lambasted Wabba following his allegations against the government.

Adangor described as laughable and mendacious claims by him that the NLC was yet to receive the enrolled order of the National Industrial Court (NIC) stopping industrial actions in the state.

He  said Wabba was the third defendant in the suit between the Attorney-General, Rivers State, NLC and five others pending before the NIC, a vacation court in Lagos.

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