Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) Akwa Ibom State Council, on Workers Day has warned uncharitable employers who are allegedly refusing payment of salaries to their workers, and a few others considering salary cut as a result of the just relaxed nationwide lockdown of the global COVID-19, saying no worker should suffer the brunt of the pandemic.
This was the one of the concerns raised by Akwa Ibom State TUC, through her Chairman, Comrade Dominic Abang in his address as the State joined other States of the federation in celebrating Workers Day on May 1, 2020 also known as May Day.
This year’s Workers Day celebration had a few representatives from the labour force and it took place at the NLC Secretariat, Uyo and had as its theme: “COVID-19 Pandemic and its Socio-Economic Impact on the Nigerian Working Class”.
“Consequent upon the COVID-19, we have received reports that some uncharitable employers have refused to pay salaries to their workers; and some are considering salary cut. We use this medium to warn that workers should not be made victims of COVID-19”.
While commending the State Government on the prompt payment of salaries, Comrade Abang said that Akwa Ibom State Labour force is seriously frowning at the undue publicity given by Government in regards to payment of salaries on social media.
Comrade Abang observed that aside from such unwarranted publicity skyrocketing prices of goods in the general market, it also exposes workers to security threat.
He however commended the State Government over her heroic fight against COVID-19 and advised that for the pandemic to be kicked out of the State, it is imperative for government and the people to to unit against COVID-19 as a common enemy of man.
His appreciation in the fight against COVID-19 also went to health professionals when he said: “We salute our heroic and gallant comrades in the health profession who are at the forefront of the fight against this unprecedented health disaster. Worth commending include other comrades who are on essential duties and therefore still reporting to work, in spite of the risk. This shining example is yet another testimony to the tremendous contributions of labour to our society over the years, in spite of the challenging work environment. We also extend our appreciation to security agencies for discharging their duties”.
The Akwa Ibom TUC Boss said the Union has noted with dismay the infringement of fundamental human rights of some persons by security operatives during the just relaxed lockdown order, he called on relevant agencies to limit their operations within the confines of their duties with premium paid to ethics, rules and guidelines.
“our attention has been drawn to a few cases of human rights abuses since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the State. Akwa Ibom State TUC believes strongly in justice, equity and fairness. To build an enduring democracy, we must always imbibe and respect the rule of law and the fundamental rights of the citizens, including freedom of speech. We therefore urge our security agencies to be professional and humane in the discharge of their duties”.
He itemized some of the achievements of his led administration to include: acquisition of a well equipped temporally office apartment as secretariat, inauguration the maiden Women Commission for the State Council, negotiation on the payment of new minimum wage and consequential adjustments in Akwa Ibom State in collaboration with other Labour components; capacity building etc., while looking forward to building a permanent secretariat in the nearest term.
The union urged all her colleagues to keep observing the safety guidelines issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as well as directives by other relevant authorities even as they reiterate their resolve of collaboration with the State Government in building her economy.
Year 2020 Workers Day celebration had in attendance Labour leaders, Government functionaries, representatives from the Peess and received solidarity messages from the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Commissioner for Labour and Manpower Planning, Prof. Victor Inoka, Head of Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien and NLC Chairman, Comrade Sunny James.