Following the recent report which exposed Gov. Udom Emmanuel administration’s alleged plot to deduct up to fifty percent of workers’ Salary, Civil Servants under the state’s employ have concluded plans to embark on an indefinite strike should the plan be implemented, Our paper can authoritatively report.
It would be recalled that GLOBAL CONCORD Newspaper had last week reported how the state government, through a circular signed by the state Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Akan Okon, directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the state to deduct at source salaries of all workers in the state as the “Personal Income tax”.
Reacting to the development, a Civil Servant in the state who pleaded anonymity said the move by the government was not only barbaric, but inhuman.
Our source who is a top ranking member of Executive, Akwa Ibom State’s Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), opined that Governor Udom should rather consider increasing the salaries of workers in the state in view of the current harsh economic condition.
“It is a sign of government insensitivity to the plight of workers in the state. A worker-friendly Governor should think of either increasing the salaries of workers in the state or introducing some incentives to cushion the effects of the current harsh economic situation in the state.
Any attempt to deduct the already meager salary of workers in the state shall meet a very stiff resistance,” the Labour Union member hinted.
Reacting to a question on the importance of the tax being a form of revenue for the state, he retorted: “Why must the Akwa Ibom State government start their revenue drive from the poor workers? If you go to other states, their Governors have slashed their salaries and other unnecessary emoluments which past administrations allotted for themselves and other political appointees. These state governors are using what they realize from the exercise to fund some infrastructural provisions in their states, while greater part of the statutory allocation accruable to their states are used to service the wage bill.”
While blaming what he called “avoidable hardship” of Akwa Ibom workers on the “compromised” Head of the Civil Service, Mrs. Cecilia Udoessien, our source hinted that labour Unions in the state have resolved to embark on an indefinite strike to communicate their rejection of the government’s move to “deduct” their salaries.
Meanwhile, the state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Etim Ukpong has called on Mrs. Cecilia Udoessien, the embattled Head of the states Civil Service to quit the office, having retired from service over a year ago.
Speaking recently during an anti-corruption campaign embarked upon by Labour Unions in the state, the State Chairman said that it was a display of corruption for someone who had retired to continue collecting salaries and other entitlements, while signing retirement letters of those who came to meet her in the service.
“Comrades, it is a misnomer for somebody to sit in office and sign the retirement of the pupils he or she taught in the primary school. It is not fair, even if I am the one. So those who are due for retirement know themselves and today, we are saying that they must go”, Comrade Ukpong said.
The state labour leader also berated the state government for not carrying the labour along in the management of bailout funds from the Federal Government.