Calabar - The Cross River council of the Nigeria Labour Congress has given the United Cement Company Plc 21 days to recall sacked union executives.
Addressing the workers, the Chairman of the congress in the state, John Ushie, said it would extend the ultimatum by 14 days to fulfill the demands of the labour laws.
“If all that fails, we shall go into full scale protest until justice is achieved. Whatever we can do we will do it.”
Ushie told the workers that the company had no justification to sack the workers, adding that they have the right to peaceful demonstration.
He said the labour union was against injustice and exploitation of the workers, saying that it would do everything possible to ensure that justice was done.
He said the workers only made their demands, stressing that if the management had discovered anything wrong in their demands, it sould have invited them for a dialogue.
“We stand against exploitation. We shall fight this cause to the end. We have given the management a 21-day ultimatum to rescind their action and recall the workers.
“We will follow all due process by extending the ultimatum to 14 days.
Ushie further said the state NLC was the only industrial union qualified to fight for the welfare of workers in the state before the national office could intervene.
He called on the workers to remain resolute and united in their quest for justice.
“We are consulting with all relevant authorities in the state to mediate in the crises, ‘’ he said.
A member of the workers union executive, William Takim, said the workers had for long been working under unfavourable conditions.
Takim said the workers had written many letters to the management about their plight but to no avail.
``Rather than look into our plight, we were suspended and without fair hearing; we were told that our services were no longer needed,” he said.
The President of UNICEM Host Community Youths Association, Paul Effiong, said the community was disturbed by the development.
Effiong called on the management of UNICEM to rescind the decision and recall the workers.
“We are afraid that if there is a breakdown of law and order, our community will be affected,” he said.
Efforts to get the management to comment on the matter proved abortive as they were said to be holding a meeting.
However, in a statement earlier, the company described the protest by the workers as illegal, saying they did not seek the approval of the management before the protest.
The face-off followed the suspension of the executive of the workers’ union and subsequent termination of their appointments by the management which led to mass protest and downing of tools.