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NLC, TUC shut down schools, hospitals in Cross River

Labour unions in Cross River have shut down public institutions, including schools and hospitals, to press their demands.

The labour unions comprised the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC).

The groups said the action followed the failure of the state government to heed to its numerous ultimatums issued over its demands.

A statement jointly signed by chairmen of the affiliate unions listed 14 issues in contention, including non-payment of gratuities to retirees of state and local government councils’ workers for the past six years.

Others are the non-remittances of deductions from workers’ salaries and the full minimum wage implementation to state and local government workers.

Also listed is the non-implementation of promotion arrears to workers of both state and local government councils’ workers. The unions similarly demanded the reinstatement of pensioners wrongfully removed from the payroll.

Following the action, the gates of the state’s secretariat were locked while many other public offices were also put under lock and key.

Secondary school students in several parts of the Calabar metropolis were asked to return home by the labour leaders.

At the General Hospital Calabar, the main entrance to the hospital was shut.

Reacting to the situation, Effiong Umoh, special adviser to the governor on labour matters, said most of the demands had been met.

Mr Umoh added that the unions had not exhausted all avenues for dialogue before embarking on an indefinite strike.

“The labour gave warning on Thursday, and we called them for a meeting on Friday, but they refused to come because they knew they were to commence strike on Monday,” said Mr Umoh. “We will continue to appeal to them to consider the financial situation of the government.”