Two years after signing the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has yet to meet the demands of workers and pensioners in his state, the Nigeria Labour Congress has said.
The congress noted that Wike, who is vying to be President in 2023 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Congress, had failed to pay arrears of February and March 2016 salaries due to the aborted biometric verification.
The congress observed that the gale of donations to different causes by the governor had not escaped the attention of hungry workers and pensioners in Rivers State “who watch as their state adorns the robe of Father Christmas to other states while their salaries and pensions are withheld.”
The union stated this in a letter to the governor dated May 5, 2023, titled, ‘RE: Complaint by Rivers State Workers Against the Inhumane Disposition of the Rivers State Government to the Plight of Public Workers and Pensioners in Rivers State.’
The letter signed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, read in part, “Your Excellency, it is regrettable that nearly two years after reaching a Collective Bargaining Agreement with Rivers State workers and pensioners, the state government has reneged on the following commitments: Non-promotion of civil servants eligible for promotion since 2012; non-payment of salaries arrears to civil servants not paid February and March 2016 salaries due to the aborted 2016 biometric verification and non-harmonisation of pension for state retirees; non-payment of pension arrears, gratuities and death benefits to retirees in Rivers, thus exposing them to unimaginable pains and trauma; non-implementation of pension incremental rates; and non-implementation of annual salary increment for state workers.”
The NLC expressed misgivings over River’s continued failure to pay the terminal benefits of retirees for the past seven years “despite the viability of Rivers State, which is at par with Lagos State as Nigeria’s most financially solvent state.”
The congress added, “Many in Rivers State now believe that the maxim ‘Charity begins at home’ means nothing in Rivers State. We learnt that workers in the state now go about in black mourning robes and the children of retirees now protest naked in the public. Those are all ominous signs.
“Your Excellency, we appeal to the milk of your human kindness and your vows as a revered Life Bencher to respect our labour laws and the agreement you signed with organised labour and implement the resolutions in the Tripartite Committee Report so as to restore industrial peace in Rivers State.”
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