Workers in Cross River State have criticised the state government for paying their May salaries early.
Adorned in colourful apparels to mark May Day, the workers who received their May salaries on the eve of the celebration protested against the early payment of their salaries.
At the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar where the workers converged for the celebration, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state, John Ushie, said labour had advised the government against such a move.
He said, “We had advised the governor not to be paying salaries like this but he insisted.
“Maybe it is his own way of showing that he cares for the people. He feels he should make the life of the people better and he has expressed this by paying a month salary in arrears.”
Ushie called on workers to be prudent to avoid running into financial problems before the next pay day.
He said, “We believe that salaries should be paid for work done but since he has gone ahead to pay, we can only advise workers to be prudent.
“He did the same thing last year, but we didn’t expect he would do the same thing again because he just finished paying salaries last week and then by yesterday (April 30) he had paid May salaries. That is the situation of ground.”
Similarly, the Chairman, Nigerian Civil Service Union in the state, Dr. Peter Ipole, said paying two months’ salaries under one week is not a good idea for majority of the workers.
This, according to him, is because many workers do not have the attitude of saving, especially considering the present economic times.
While commending the government of Professor Ben Ayade for the prompt payment of salaries since he became governor of the state, the workers called on the government to pay salaries at the end of the month and not at the start.
The state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Eyo-Nsa Itam, said although the workers did not expect to get paid, the attitude of the governor towards salaries was good.
Itam said, “I think it is a tradition. We didn’t expect it yesterday. We expected it today. But you know because of the economic strain, there may be suffering if people are not careful.
“It means people would work for two months without seeing salaries, because the governor just paid salaries last week. Within one week, he has paid two months’ salaries. So it is a good development, but the impact would be very hectic.”