RSG Explains Delay In Payment Of Promotion Arrears …Tasks NLC On Unity, Reconciliation

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Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Zaki Ahmed (2nd right), with officer in charge of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Monitoring Unit, Rivers State, Mr Benneth Igweh (left) and other officers, during the parade of criminal suspects in Port Harcourt, last Saturday. Photo: Nwiueh Donatus Ken

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has explained that the state government has delayed promotion and payment of arrears of allowances of civil servants due to the current economic challenges.
This is as Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)  Rivers State, Comrade Beatrice Itubo, told The Tide that negotiation was still ongoing on the need to effect promotion and payment of backlog of arrears owed civil servants.
She said the disposition of the government was such that the economic reality may make it difficult to effect that payment immediately.
However, while hosting visiting President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, last Friday in Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor said it will be unfair to promote a worker without effecting his promotion benefits, hence, the delay in effecting promotion of workers in the state.
He said once the economic situation improves, his administration will not delay paying promotion benefits and arrears.
On the new salary being pressed by the labour union, the governor said: “If the new salary structure is agreed, if Rivers State can pay, can Ebonyi State pay? There should not be a uniform condition of service. In Nigeria, you are paid same amount of money in Lagos as in Kogi State. That is why we cannot get it right.”
Wike assured the NLC that his administration will continue to resolve all welfare challenges facing workers and retirees.
Consequently, Wike  berated the NLC over division in its ranks, saying, Nigerians are no longer happy with the (NLC) because of the infiltration of the congress by political forces.
The governor stated that the political infiltration of the NLC has made the congress ineffective and unable to positively respond to issues that affect less privileged Nigerians.
He said: “Nigerians are not happy with the NLC. With due respect, you people are now politicians. You are no longer as strong as you used to be.
“I remember when Dr Goodluck Jonathan was president, you wanted to pull heaven down just for the slight removal of petroleum subsidy. Now, they have removed everything, and nothing has happened”.
He regretted that the NLC has fallen to the level where it calls for strike, and workers fail to respond.
“You have allowed politicians to penetrate your ranks, and you now have two factions. Factionalisation is not the best. I urge you to work for the union to be strong as this is in the interest of the nation”, he said.
While pledging his support to the NLC, he urged the congress to stand firm and work for the protection of Nigerians and the country’s democracy.
“Look at what is happening in the country today, and nobody is talking. Nobody wants to go to jail. If you talk, EFCC will come after you. If you don’t want EFCC to trouble you, defect to the other party. There was this ED Finance of the NDDC, who was a member of the PDP. EFCC was after him, when he defected to the other party, they dropped the charges”, he said.
He said the country should practice true federalism in all areas, including the salary structure of the respective states.
In his remarks earlier, the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, had commended the governor for the regular payment of salaries and pensions.
“We have interfaced with workers, and they said you have been regular in the payment of salaries and pensions.
“The trade unions asked me to express their gratitude, particularly on the issue of regular payment of salaries. This, certainly, we have to appreciate because we are aware that in some states, they have difficulty in that aspect. In some states, they have even contemplated retrenchment”, Wabba said.
The NLC president appealed to the Rivers State governor to handle the challenges arising from recently retired workers’ contributory pensions and the irregular meetings of the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council.