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NLC urges Ebonyi to pay COVID-19 health workers pending allowance

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By Ruth Oginyi

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ebonyi state, Saturday called on the government to pay allowances of frontline health workers who risked their lives to save the nation from COVID-19 health disaster during the outbreak.

Addressing workers during the 2021 Workers Day in Abakaliki, Ikechukwu Nwafor, the state NLC chairman, appealed that a special day should be set aside to honour health workers who lost their lives in the course of their duty during the outbreak.

NLC noted that over 100 health workers in the country lost their lives while trying to save others during the pandemic but assured that the union would continue to be with the families.

He said: “The State Congress commended the Federal and State Governments for their tireless efforts and innovative initiatives during the COVID-19 outbreak, which helped to curtail the spread of the pandemic and disappoint the predictions of the doom of WHO and her collaborators. 

“However, Government should be reminded that allowances of frontline Health Workers who risked their lives, with some paying the supreme price to save the nation from the health disaster, are still pending to date especially in Ebonyi State. 

On the killings, and other security challenges in the state, the union who further decried that civil servants were the worst hit in the Ebonyi crisis urged Governor David Umahi to be proactive in addressing the deteriorating security challenge in the state.

The NLC called on the governor to bring to book all those fingered in the communal war in the state which has claimed many lives.

“Labour condemned in strong terms the rising level of insecurity, theft, wanton killings by criminals parading as herdsmen and unknown gunmen and communal clashes in the state.

“Regrettably, workers that leave their homes early to work are the worst hit by these evil winds. Obviously, Ebonyi state is bleeding profusely and if something is not urgently done, the consequences should better be imagined. 

“On this note, we appeal to the perpetrators of these evil acts and their sponsors to stop the rampaging killings and employ dialogue to resolve any difference(s) for the sake of the poor masses.

“We call on government of Ebonyi state to stop her unbridled and self-serving interference in labour unions affair and focus on partnering with labour to improve on the sorry state of civil servants.

“Government should bring to book those governor’s aides already fingered in the communal clashes that have claimed lives of innocent citizens to serve as a deterrent to others because injustice is one of the factors responsible for the insecurity in the country.

The union called on the state governor to rejig the state civil service “for productivity; restore the salary of civil servants slashed in 2016; pay workers living wage through a new and improved salary structure; restore promotion for civil servant; lift the embargo on employment to reduce the army of unemployed youths roaming the streets; implement negotiated minimum wage for workers and pay any outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance,” he said.

The theme of this year’s Workers’ Day was: “COVID-19, Social and Economic Crisis: Challenges for Decent Jobs, Social Protection and Peoples’ Welfare,”.

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