Workers Day: NLC requests that Udom address pension adjustment and gratuity issues before leaving office.

The Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has urged Governor Udom Emmanuel to address pension adjustment, gratuities, promotion, and arrears payment, among other issues, before leaving office on May 29.

Comrade Sunny James, the state NLC Chairperson, made the appeal on Monday during the workers May Day celebration with the theme "Workers Rights and Economic Justice" held at the Ibom Hall grounds in Uyo, the state capital.

He also urged the governor to address the consequential pensions adjustment of retirees in line with the 2020 National Minimum wage Table, and release funds for the payment of gratuities on a monthly basis to all categories of workers in the state.

James requested the release of workers promotion as at where due, saying the on-going teachers disagreement on promotion arrears of 2011 – 2016 should be cleared as has been done for other categories of workers.

He further requested that the outstanding leave grant of Primary School Teachers and Local Government workers be cleared, as well as the refund of 7.5 percent contributory pension to workers, especially Primary school teachers.

The NLC also appealed to the governor to direct the immediate payment of the four months allowance of medical doctors on house manship to discourage the exodus of qualified health workers to foreign countries.

In response, Governor Udom Emmanuel assured the NLC that the consequential pensions adjustment of retirees was being worked on, and all outstanding pensions and the allowances of medical doctors on house manship would be cleared before he vacates office on May 29.

Emmanuel stated that the disagreement on promotion arrears of 2011 – 2016 for teachers would be sorted out, adding that the government was waiting for the data on 7.5 percent contributory pensions and would begin the process of refund as soon as the required information reaches the government.

“I had a meeting with the pensioners who brought something to my attention. I stand by my promise that we would correct those issues of the pensioners if their joint report will be ready by Wednesday (I have called a special meeting of exco members) and they promised me that the report would be ready.

“We have done the 2022 promotion. The 2022 promotion has been signed and I would be surprised if the Head of Service has not circulated that because that should go for implementation. 2023 promotion will be done after the appraisal of your performance in 2023. So, I can’t start now to promote you, hoping you will perform. You would perform first before I promote you.

“On the issue of leave grants for primary school teachers, since we took over government and governance, every month, the state has been intervening in helping out at the third tier of government. It is not the fault of the local government, it is the structure of our fiscal responsibility as a nation.

“Whatever we do is a sacrifice on our part that we keep intervening in the local government area. When this was brought to my notice, I said we are going to suspend a lot of projects as a state and intervene immediately. I want to believe that beginning from tomorrow, people will start getting alert.

“On the 7.5 percent contributory pensions for Primary school teachers, I have set up a committee on that, let that committee complete their own report. As I am standing here, in the past 7 years, with 11 months and few days to go, the Chairman of Labour Congress is aware that we are able to reconcile at the state we have paid.

“On the housemanship allowance from January to March, you know my passion for health. If there is one area that the government has invested a lot of money in, it is in the health care delivery system. We are one of the few states in this country today that is paying health care hazards allowance to health workers. So I don’t think the delay of one or two months should be an issue. I am sure the Commissioner will sort that out,” he stated.

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