The Akwa Ibom Council of Nigeria Labour Congress may head on a collision course with the state government if what the union sees as “Illegal Deductions from Workers Salary/Over-taxation,” is not resolved.
The state NLC Chairperson, Sunny James raised the red flag on Friday during the partial observance of 2020 International Workers’ Day in Akwa Ibom State with a few members owing to the social distancing order of the COVID-19 pandemic.
James, a comrade in his five-page address said “We have confirmed that various amounts ranging from N700 to N7,000 were illegally deducted from the salaries of public servants in Akwa Ibom State in the months of March and April 2020 without any information whatsoever to the workers.
“Extant Labour laws of the Federation are very clear on the import of deducting the salaries of an employee by the employer without their consent.
“Congress, therefore, demands the immediate refund of the monies.”
On promotion without financial benefit, the labour boss attributed the problem of promotion of staffers of the state public service without accompanying financial benefits to the concessioning of the state Payroll to external consultants.
“It is now the tradition in the state public service for workers to be issued letters of promotion while they will wait interminably for the financial benefits due to the progression.
“We wish to use this occasion to state that these infractions on workers’ legitimate entitlements are deliberate and should be stopped forthwith. We wish to also call on the government to supervise the operations of the salary consultant and other consultants hired by the government.”
An investigation carried out by Straightnews shows that the deductions from the salary of thousands of public servants in Akwa Ibom amount to millions of Naira.
It is further discovered that payroll units in ministries are rendered redundant while most of the lead consultants who are non-indigenes are uncooperative with the public servants having issues, even if the servants go with letters or memos from their permanent secretaries for their consideration.
In his solidarity message entitled: Together, we will overcome COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Udom Emmanuel said his administration’s commitment to the welfare of workers remains strong and abiding.
The governor who was represented by Effiong Essien, the Head of the Civil Service did not respond to the allegation but pledged to look into it, however mentioning payment of New Minimum Wage, regular payment of salary and pensions as well as the commencement of Affordable Mass Housing Scheme as some achievements for workers in the state.