By Martin Opara
The organized labour comprising all industrial unions in the state, has notified the state government of their intention to embark on industrial action after a 14 day ultimatum, with effect from Wednesday 28th October, 2020.
This was contained in a letter dated 26th October, signed by Comrade Austin Chilakpu as State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) Comrade Ken Onwuemeodo, State Secretary, NLC, Comrade Nkim Tangban, State Chairman, Trade Union Congress TUC, Comrade Christ Arungwa, State Secretary TUC, Comrade Aloy Iwuanyanwu, State Chairman JNC, Comrade Uche Anyanwu, State Secretary JNC.
The industrial action, according to the letter addressed to the Governor, through the Principal Secretary, is in protest against the non payment, staggered payment and under payment of salaries and pensions of civil/public servants and retirees in the state, from February 2020 till date.
The impending industrial action, is also aimed at compelling the state government to fast track the conclusion of negotiations and immediate implementation of the
N30,000 minimum wage, among other issues.
The letter also noted that the organized laobur has shown understanding and patiently cooperated with government since February till date but regretted that government has not shown commensurate understanding and sincerity in addressing workers’ plight, “hence, instead of things improving, the situation has continued to get worse”.
“Labour leaders in the state have been labeled various names for their patience and understanding. We cannot continue to fold our arms helplessly, in a situation where few workers are paid salaries, while others are not. Some pensioners receive their pensions while others do not. This has become an unacceptable tradition in the state. Besides, Imo is an oil producing state and should, under no circumstance, owe pensions, salaries or be the last to implement the national minimum wage. We have exhausted all avenues and have no other reason to give Imo workers and pensioners, as regard non payment, staggered or under payment of salaries and pensions”.
The letter emphatically stated that, if after the 16th of November, 2020, the issues for which the ultimatum was given are not properly addressed, “organized labour will no longer be in a position to guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the state”.