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Cross River Workers Strike Over Doctored Agreement

Activities at Cross River State Government’s offices were on Monday grounded on Monday over a new clause allegedly introduced into the May 30 agreement between the organised labour and the state government.

Government offices at the old and new state secretariats as well as other agencies across the state were closed while skeletal services were carried out at the Government House in Calabar.

The organised labour made up of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress had on May 30 suspended a one-day strike after Governor Ben Ayade acceded to the call to suspend embargo on workers’ promotion.

But the workers alleged that the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Tina Agbor, doctored the Memorandum of Understanding and introduced an unfavourable clause on the suspension of the promotion policy.

The state Chairman of the NLC, Mr. John Ushie, in a radio interview monitored on Monday, alleged that the agreement was altered by the SSG.

He said, “On May 30, an agreement was signed by the deputy governor, SSG, Commissioner for Finance on the government side while the organised labour signed on behalf of the unions. Now after the agreement, government had reneged on the MoU through the office of the SSG who was one of the signatories to the agreement.

“We do not understand why there should be any clause after an agreement had been reached with government at the highest level. Item one of that agreement was that promotion interview for civil servants should commence forthwith and letter released while the financial implications will be worked out with the Head of Service and Commissioner of Finance.

“Now three weeks after this agreement was reached, the SSG came out with a letter which has brought about this strike. She said in the doctored MoU that the promotion exercise would be predicated on the ability of government to pay and that the cumulative cost implication should be cascaded to the Accountant-General and Commissioner for Finance before the release of letters of promotion.

“This last clause has negated the agreement. It means that we are going back to what led to the suspension of promotion. We have totally rejected this. We took the governor by his word because this agreement was reached in his presence.”

PUNCH.

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