From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Cross River workers have vowed to continue to sit at home until their 14-ponit demands even as government has threatened to sanction workers who fail to resume work.
But state government has faulted organised labour’s insistent on industrial action despite meeting their demands, insisting that they don’t have any pending issues with labour unions.
And in a move to scuttle the strike, the office of the Cross River State Head of Service (HoS) Mrs Geraldine Akpet-Ekanem, issued directive to all Permanent Secretaries and workers to report to work on the same day or face sanction start from her office.
Our correspondent who went round offices observed that the two secretariats housing ministries and expressed, ministerial departments were still under lock and key.
Speaking at a scheduled meeting with labour leaders, which they failed to show up, the Deputy Governor, Prof Ivara Esu, decried labour’s belligerant posture and wondered why they
resorted to locking up government offices.
He said: “We called those who signed this document to come for a meeting with us. Not necessarily for negotiations but at least let us hear who they represent, and perhaps what they are about.
“Though organised labour is not known to law in terms of issues between employer and employee, they signed this document and we invited them for a meeting and we have been waiting here not even one of them has shown up.”
Esu, who was visibly angry, enumerated government’s efforts at fulfilling its agreement with labour, disclosing that “the implementation of promotion of workers has just been approved by the Governor to commence in phases.
“In terms of remittances from workers salaries, the Governor has also approved four months and that three months be made ready in the first instance and these things are verifiable and these guys are not aware, they don’t ask questions, they just wake up to declare a strike.
“I must say the practice of locking government offices and preventing people who want to work in having access is unacceptable.”
Expressing worry at the shabby treatment meted out on workers, who they describe a s drivers of the government’s policies and programmes, the Cross River State chapter of PDP called on the APC-led administration to look into the plight of the workers as soon as possible.
The party in a press statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Prince Mike Ojisi, said: “We wholeheartedly identify with the struggle for a better welfare and remuneration for workers, not just in Cross River, but the entire country. We feel concerned that the workers who are drivers of government policies and programmes are treated shabbily.
“Aware that the Governor sanctimonious prides itself as the alert master and lover of civil servants, we appeal to his conscience to dialogue with the leadership of organised labour unions and listen to their agitations.”