Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey has called on Akwa Ibomites with serious concerns to channel their grievances by way of petition to the House Committee on Judiciary, Justice, Human Rights and Public Petitions for effective legislative action(s) by the House.
Speaker Bassey created the call yesterday when the Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Sunny James led members of the Union in a peaceful protest to the state House of Assembly, pressing home their grievances bordering on workers welfare in the State.
Providing guiding principles to the protesting Unionists who in their number barricaded the entrance of Assembly’s reception, speaker Bassey advised them to document their grievances and concerns and present them to the House through committee on Judiciary, Justice, Human Right and Public Petitions, for appropriate action.
The Speaker assured that with this process put into practice, the House shall be in a better position to consider the concerns as presented at the committee level and draw favourable resolutions for parties concern as a House and also put the executive arm in the know for subsequent implementation for the general good of citizenry.
He commended the State Chairman of NLC, the leadership and entire members of the Union for coordinating themselves during the peaceful demonstration and gave the assurance that once the union takes the right approach to the House, all concerns shall be addressed accordingly and with fair treatment to all parties.
Speaking earlier, the State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Sunny James informed that the Union in the spirit of celebrating 2019 World Labour Decency Day, decided to brief the State legislature on the plight, struggles and grievances of Akwa Ibom work force through a peaceful demonstration to the House.
Major concerns raised by the Chairman were: 723 workers in the Local Government service Commission that were relieved of their duties by Akwa Ibom State Government in July 2019, sacking of four (4) union leaders of Jubilee Syringe Company movement by its management, delay in implementation of approved new N30, 000 Minimum wage among other concerns.
Condemning the sacked of 723 workers with Local Government Service Commission, the Chairman maintained that massive retrenchment of workers and stoppage of salary without consent of the union where the affected persons are already members is totally condemnable and unacceptable.
He reasoned that about 93 out of the 723 affected workers were employed by Local Government Service Commission directly by Chairmen of Councils with approvals from the State Governor on August 4, 2018, followed by issuance of appointment letters, he questioned how such employment could be illegal as alleged.
While he called on the State government to reconsider reinstating the affected workers, he also called on the management of Jubilee Syringe Company to comply with the directive of the Governor to ensure the four sacked labour leaders in the company are recalled on or before October 15, 2019, adding that there is no law in Nigeria abolishing Trade Unionism in a workplace, as there is freedom of association and Unionism.
Also, describing the foot-dragging Implementation of the New Minimum Wage by most State Governors as a worrisome and disturbing issue in the country, he called on the State Governor Mr. Udom Emmanuel to rise and be counted among other State Governors that have commenced the process of implementing the new minimum wage in the likes of Ekiti and Kaduna States, by implementing the new scale for Akwa Ibom workforce for an improved productivity.
He remained optimistic that the House of Assembly in partnership with the State executive shall favourably address workers discrepancies in the State to further ensure a friendly working atmosphere for workers in the State employ.