by Nnamdi Ikeagu
Public sector workers across Ebonyi state organised a 7-day warning strike in September This was to protest what effectively amounts to salary cuts by the state government, and the report of the Sam Egwu-led committee set up to review this, which endorsed the cuts. The governor, Mr David Umahi claimed that Ebonyo state cannot continue to pay wages based on the salary table negotiated with the former state government before the March gubernatorial elections.
The Nigeria Labour Congress, Ebonyi state council discredited the government’s claims with facts and figures which show that salaries could be “conveniently and comfortably” paid using the table with enough money for capital projects still being available.
Rather than concede, in July, the government constituted a committee led by Dr Sam Egwu, a former governor and ally of the current governor, to look into the matter. The committee submitted its report on September 2, supporting the cuts, without considering the workers’ submissions, which invalidated its conclusions.
The unions’ response was swift. Stating that: “We reject the report of Dr. Egwu-led committee because it is biased and did not accommodate the presentations of the organized labour”, they commenced the 7-day warning strike within 48 hours. They have vowed to subsequently embark on an indefinite strike action if the salary table negotiated is not duly implemented.
It is not workers’ salaries that gulp states’ resources. Neither is it capital projects for the benefit of working-class people. The main drain of wealth is the boss-class. This is through high allowances and corrupt practices. This is what should be curbed and not the hard-earned wages of workers which are not enough in the first place.
Socialist Worker fully supports Ebonyi workers in this struggle. If we dare to fight, we dare to win!