The organised labour in Cross River State is not relenting in its determination to compel the state government to meet their demands before returning to work. This is despite efforts by the government to coerce them to abandon their strike. The workers have been on strike for about a month now.
In their last bulletin, the workers even accused the governor, Prof Ben Ayade of insensitivity to the plight of retirees, despite the funds accruing to the state from the federal account.
They said between 2015 and 2017, the federal government had given money to the state for the purpose of addressing the needs of workers and retirees.
According to them, the state government received N7.8billion and N11.6 billion as first tranche of bail-out funds, while N12.16 and N6.75 billion was received under the Paris Club refunds.
They noted that “it is unfair of Governor Ayade not to consider plights of our dying retirees and workers that have been stagnated for years.”
For the first time in a very long time, the striking workers have shown resilience and commitment to the strike. Even when the state government dragged them before an industrial court, where judgement was given against the workers, having been ordered to return to work, they have remained resolute and committed to the action.
The threat of sack by the government does not also seem to have bothered the workers who have vowed to remain at home until their demands are met.
Traditional rulers in the state recently made efforts to wade into the face-off between the organised labour and the government when it advised the governor to set aside
Chairman of the state council of traditional rulers, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet, suggested to the governor, that he should set aside N20million monthly to settle outstanding obligations with retirees.
Apparently yielding to that request, the governor, during his 2022 budget presentation which took place penultimate week, announced that he was setting aside at least N30m for the purpose on monthly basis.
But that announcement did not seem to mean anything to the workers who have remained adamant and have continued with the strike since then.