• Cross River workers disappointed as Otu announces N40,000 new minimum wage

    Cross river workers disappointed as otu announces n40000 new minimum wage - nigeria newspapers online
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    Civil servants in Cross River State have shown disappointment when the governor, Bassey Otu, announced a new minimum wage of N40,000.

    The governor made the announcement while speaking at the International Workers Day celebration at the U.J Essueine Stadium in Calabar with the theme: Peoples First”.

    The workers who were of high hope before the unexpected announcement lamented that the governor was expected to do more than N40,000.

    In an interview with The Guardian at the stadium, a civil servant, Mrs. Isu Obiewe lamented, “I was happy about today but the announcement of the N40,000 by the governor has spoiled my mood. N40,000 means nothing. N40k cannot take you for one week not to talk of a whole month.

    “How do you pay your children school fees? How do you service your loans? How do you pay your rent? We get loans and pay through our nose because the salary is nothing to write home about and with the hardship that is biting hard, we were expecting something better if not spectacular from the governor. We are highly disappointed by that announcement.

    “You can see how that has changed the morale of workers immediately the governor made that announcement. What I was expecting should be between N60,000 to N70,000, it’s something the state government can do. Please let the governor do something about our salary, this is unfair!”

    In the same vain, Mr. Ekanem Alex, said, “Workers are not happy due to the high cost of living in Nigeria. You can see it yourself. When Goodluck Jonathan was the President of Nigeria, this stadium used to be filled with people, people were happy.

    “A bag of rice was selling at N8,000 but now a bag of rice goes for N75,000 to N80,000 and the minimum wage that they promised us, they have not implemented. They are even causing confusion between themselves. They said considering how things are in Nigeria they should pay minimum wage at N155,000 which is still too poor.

    “The state governor just declared N40k, it is too poor! What can N40,000 buy? In the present Nigeria economy, N40,000 cannot achieve anything. You can’t pay your child school fees, not to talk of paying rent. it is too poor!

    “The governor should be able to industrialise the state compared to other states like Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt, look at their minimum wages, even Edo state that their GDP is not that fantastic, they just increased their minimum wage to N70,000 why will the Cross River State Governor keep it at N40,000, it is too poor.”

    Earlier, while addressing workers at the U.J Essueine Stadium, Otu said owing to the peculiarity of the state lean resources caused by the statutory federal allocation aggravated by the unfavorable state GDP, the new minimum wage would be in line with the realities rather than sentiments.

    “On this note, I wish to announce that the least paid worker in the Cross River State civil service will henceforth earn the sum of N40,000 only as a living wage. Modalities for immediate implementation arrears being worked on,” Otu said.

    The governor who also appealed for strong workforce lamented that principal amongst the shortcomings in the civil service is low productivity which is adjudged to be barely 5 percent.

    “It therefore amount to wasting one’s sweetness in the desert if the government should yield to almost all the demands of workers, yet productivity is not commensurable.” Otu stated.

    The governor said, though he was aware of other demands by the Organised Labour on welfare of workers and pensioners, which are yet to be addressed.

    Otu said with the continuous robust dialogue between the government and the union, the outstanding issues would be resolved soon.

    The Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Cross River State Council, Comrade Gregory Olayi and the State Chairman Trade Union Congress (TUC) in their separate speeches said over the years , workers have watched the declining state of the civil service from bad to worse.

    They appealed to the governor to implement Payment of gratuity of pensioners and the implementation of the annual step increment of civil servants in the state.

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