June 18, 2024

11 years gratuity: TUC accuses Gov Otu’s administration of reneging on promise

The Trade Union Congress, TUC, in Cross River State has accused the government of Prince Bassey Otu of reneging on its promise to clear the backlog of gratuities which has been outstanding since 2013.

This year’s May Day or Workers’ Day was held at UJ Esuene Stadium Calabar where labour Unions and affiliate bodies converged and held a march past.

Chairman of TUC, Monday Ogolodom said the administration deceived the senior citizens when it failed to deliver its promise.

Addressing workers on Workers Day, Ogolodom said “Payment of gratuity in the state has become a mirage. I recall on the 4 of October 2023, during the swearing-in of the Head of Service, Innocent Eteng, His Excellency, the Governor made a very welcoming, sweet and promising speech, saying “Before the end of December 2023 all backlog of Gratuity in the state shall be cleared”.

“Today is 1″ May 2024, 4 (four) months after, nothing has started”, adding that this has portrayed the governor in bad light and appealed to him to set up a machinery towards actualizing the promise as some of our elder statesmen and women were dying due to lack of funds for medications.

He expressed dismay over what he described as an unending verification exercise that was supposed to weed out so-called ghost workers in the state, saying this has denied workers overdue promotions.

He called on the government to officially embark on a recruitment exercise instead of secret recruitment.

He also expressed dismay that bribes for promotion were still ongoing, saying this was appalling.

He called on the state government to resume the wage award, emphasizing that it is different from palliative awards meant to cushion the effects of the times as introduced by the federal government.

“Let me at this point appreciate and thank His Excellency, for the N10,000 palliative allowances approved for the workforce and pensioners in the state before the emergence of wage award by the Federal government and to remind His Excellency that wage award is different from the palliative allowance. Palliative allowance has ended in line with the agreement of six months while Wage award is meant to continue until the emergence of a new National Minimum wage. We appeal to His Excellency to direct the payment of the wage award in line with the federal government template. This has become Imperative as the palliative allowance has ended and the economic realities remain the same or even worse.”

Also speaking, the chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Gregory Olayi lamented the dearth of workers, saying for instance, there are no workers on levels 3 to 9 in Cross River State.

Olayi said, “Let me on behalf of workers, state that all has not been well with workers. We have over the years watched the declining state of the State Civil Service. This decline ranges from a lack of motivation for Workers to the pitiable state of our working environment. ”

He spoke about the non-implementation of promotion especially that of Local Government Staff, Primary School Teachers, Primary Health Workers, etc. since 2015 as well as payments of gratuity to our retirees since 2013, non Payment of annual incremental steps to workers, non Payments of Wage Award to Civil Servants in the State, and lateness in remittances of deductions from workers’ salaries; both in check-off dues and facilities repayments to Banks and other Financial Institutions.

He called for the employment of workers into the State Service to fill vacant positions.

Addressing the workers and Union leaders, Governor Otu said, “Government considers its workforce as the driver of lofty projects and programmes for the common good of the people. Workers in the State are always held in high esteem to achieve good results, which reason why prompt payment of salary and pension has been up to date.

He said his government has monthly salaries and pensions up to date.

He announced that henceforth the least paid worker in the state will go home with N40,000, emphasizing that this has to do with realities on the ground and not sentiments.

He said he is morally inclined to pay priority attention to the retirees and other senior citizens.

He sued for more patience to enable him clear the backlog of gratuities.

“The State Government is presently on the verge of concluding necessary arrangements for the staggered payment of outstanding gratuity to its retired workers. I therefore sue for a little patience from the pensioners in this regard.”

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