MEMBERS of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and other affiliate unions on Tuesday suspended their two-day picketing of the Accountant General’s office in Calabar over the non-remittance of deductions of loans from civil servants’ salaries to banks.
The suspension of the blockade followed the appeal by Governor Ben Ayade for the organised labour to allow him to begin the payment of the remittance with two months this week.
Ayade said the amount involved was too much for the government to pay all the four months at once.
The governor also promised to pay the remaining two months from February as well as to ensure regular remittance of deductions to appropriate quarters henceforth.
Meanwhile, the workers and labour leaders had earlier shunned entreaties by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Martins Orim, and continued to picket the office of the Accountant General until the governor intervened and attended to them.
Labour had on Monday blocked the Accountant General’s office as early as 6 am, over deductions from workers’ salaries which it (labour) claimed was not being remitted to the bank for those who borrowed from different banks as well as the refusal of the Accountant General to remit money deducted for housing purpose to mortgage banks.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘A workman deserves his wages’, ‘Workers can’t access facilities anymore, pay banks their monies’ and ‘Trade Union Act and Labour Act say remit deductions within 72 hours’, among others.
On Monday, the Accountant General, Mr. Joseph Adie, had met with labour and promised that he was going to look into their case before the end of the day.
The state Chairman of NLC, Mr. Ben Ukpepi, then decided to go home with a pledge to return on Tuesday to hear from the Accountant General.
“We arrived here today (Tuesday) only to discover that the AG did not do anything. So we are picketing his office and we will not listen to anybody until they meet our demands,” Ukpepi said.
As they gathered in front of the gate, Martins Orim, the Governor’s Chief of Staff came to address them, but they shunned him and insisted that the governor should meet with them.