Organised labour in Rivers State, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), have scheduled to proceed on a peaceful protest effective from Tuesday next week, to demand that the State ends what they referred to as “persecution and infractions on workers and trade union rights in Rivers State”.
Addressing a joint press conference on Thursday in Abuja, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba and his TUC counterpart, Quadri Olaleye said, “if after next week’s protest, Governor Wike continues to hold labour in contempt and fails to redress our concerns, we will be left with no other option than to ground every socio-economic activity in Rivers State until the Rivers State Governor does the needful”.
Wabba said the protest is to draw the attention of the world to the various infractions against workers in the State, which includes, the sealing off the NLC Rivers State Council, persecution and prosecution of trade union leaders on trumped up charges, non-payment of gratuity and pensions to pensioners since 2015, non-payment of promotion arrears since 2015, withholding of workers’ salaries for up to 7-month salaries and refusal to negotiate with workers’ organizations on salary adjustments consequent on the new national minimum wage.
The leadership also complained about “industrial tyranny and state sponsored violence and terrorism against workers and citizens by the Rivers State Government, the grand design is to muzzle the voice of Rivers State workers who face a despicable industrial ordeal”.
He further said, “Nigerian workers are not cowed and will never be cowed by the cowardly actions of Mr. Nyesom Wike to cower our voices. Workers will never succumb to his scare tactics. We will continue to demand that the rights of our workers in the workplace, their safety, and the sanctity of their lives must be respected always both by government and private sector employers. We will never shirk from this sacred mandate.”