From Mfon Ekefre, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State wings of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have described as “spurious, baseless and false” allegations that the state government is indebted to its workforce to the tune of five months’ salary arrears.
The NLC made the correction following claims in the media that the Akwa Ibom is among states that have failed to pay their workers for months till date, a claim that Governor Udom Emmanuel has faulted.
At a joint press briefing, the NLC and TUC said: “Workers in the employ of Akwa Ibom State government are not being owed any salary as they have received their salaries up to May 2015.”
The text of the briefing delivered by the new NLC chairman in the state, Mr. Etim Ukpong, continued: “Ordinarily, the allegations could have been managed within the state but when it was spread through a credible national network, it become a matter of great concern to the government and the people, hence the need to clarify the issue.
“We knew the report was an attempt at blackmailing the workers and a callous effort to cause disaffection among the workers and maliciously to create discord in the relationship between labour administrations in the state”
“Purveyors of such falsehood could have balanced their information by cross-checking with those who receive salaries and who understand the difference between salaries and other entitlements.
“Anybody or group of persons having any bones to grind with anybody should not drag labour into it. Labour is capable of fighting its own cause and can defend itself. We will not need the support or services of anybody or group of persons. The NLC and TUC create and help to manage the wealth of the state and know what to do to hunt those who think we are not important.
“Labour understands the issues the state government has to sort out with workers and the role the state government must play to help bring about industrial peace and harmony.”
In answer to a question, the NLC chairman said “the fact that some local governments are owing their workers between one to five months is not to say government has not released fund for payment.
“Some of the unpaid workers have the problem of producing their first school learning certificates during personnel audit or are having problems with the biometric capturing machine.
It therefore called “on the medium that aired the false allegations to the public, to, in the interest of good relationship speedily correct it.”