According to reports, the chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning following a strike called by the union and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the state.
Following directives from the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, civil servants in the state reportedly embarked on a state-wide general strike and shut down all government offices in Calabar and other major cities.
However, in response to the industrial action by civil servants, the Special Adviser to Governor Benedict Ayade on labour matters, Effiong Ita Umoh, stated that the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) had no right to block government offices and that they would be held liable for any damage to government property as a result of their actions.
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According to him, government offices were not only occupied by labour union members, but that political appointees and other officials should also be able to gain access to their respective workplaces.
“While the National Labor Council and the Trades Union Congress have the right to go on strike in accordance with industrial laws, they do not have the authority to close down government offices where political appointees and other officials work,” he explained.
“What they have done is denied access to their work to those who are not members of labour unions.” If anything goes wrong, they will cover the costs of any damages.
“Even though they notified us late, they never gave us an opportunity to meet with them.” Although Gov. Ayade has designated aides to handle all issues, they insisted on meeting with him personally in order to press their case for greater funding.
“We have satisfied all of their requirements with the exception of gratuities. We aren’t even obligated to pay salaries. “We’ve put in place promotions,” he explained further.
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the National Liberation Council, Chief Ita Ayi, has stated that the strike must continue despite the arrest of their chairman.
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