The Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Etim Ukpong, has called for the refund of the balance of seven and a half percent contributory pension money to affected workers to address industrial dispute.
Mr. Ukpong made the demand on Monday in a speech to mark the 2017 Workers’ Day celebration held at the Uyo Township Stadium.
He said the resolution of the issue would enable government and the union agree on the resumption of contributory pension scheme in the state.
“We call on the government to address the following industrial issues bordering on refund of balance of seven and a half percent contributory pension money to affected workers so labour and government can agree to the resumption of contributory pension scheme in the state,” said Mr. Ukpong.
The labour leader called on the state government to address other industrial issues relating to payment of arrears of promotions from 2011 to date to all categories of workers and payment of arrears of leave grants to primary school teachers, local government staff and others.
He called on the state government to wade into the crisis in the construction companies where workers are losing jobs and where companies shutting down have refused to pay workers’ entitlements.
‘’We demand that in negotiating contract workers’ welfare, delivery of satisfactory jobs should be paramount and labour should be part of the negotiating team,” Mr. Ukpong said.
On his part, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Akamba Awah, lauded the industrial harmony between government and the union but called on the government to look into workers’ welfare, adding that the present minimum wage was nothing to write home about.
Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, in his response, lauded the resilience of the state’s workers in the face of economic recession.
The governor said while state government workers were going through one industrial dispute or the other Akwa Ibom State workers showed understanding during the period.
According to him, the achievement recorded during the period could not have been possible without the support of the labour movement, adding that he would address all the issues raised within the limits of available resources.