The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma has commended workers in Imo for not yielding to self orchestrated and imported strike in the State, emphasising that the best approach to government /Labour harmonious relations remains through dialogue.

Governor Uzodimma spoke on Tuesday at a One Day Workshop on the theme: “Dialogue:  Best Option in Resolving Industrial Disputes” organised by the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour Matters,  held at the Nigerian Union of Teachers State Secretariat Complex, Port Harcourt Road, Owerri.

The Governor who was represented by the Hon Commissioner for Education, Prof. Johncliff Nwadike said as a Labour friendly governor he always recognises the need for cordial Government/Labour harmonious relationship, the reason he did not waste time to approve of the workshop as well as the appointment of the former NLC Chairman in the State as Special Adviser on Labour Matters.

He said that the theme of the Workshop was apt as “it is meant to cement what is already on ground in Imo State, that is, harmonious relationship between Labour and Government.”

The Governor said that the State is able to obliterate industrial actions because the State’s work force has been getting what is due to them as of right.

He listed  prompt payment of salaries, promotions for workers, advertisements for employments, conducive State Secretariat, provision of staff free bus to and from office, ensuring that no genuine and legitimate worker is abandoned or allowed to shed tears, among others.

The Governor, however, expressed his gratitude to Imo workers for recently resisting what was obviously an orchestrated and imported strike foisted on them by a proud few. 

Governor Uzodimma therefore counselled that for all issues between government and labour, the best approach at all levels and times is dialogue. 

“Unionism is not all about confrontation, attacks, brigandage or showdown. It is all about progress and dialogue to avoid crisis.”

He used the opportunity to enjoin the Labour Unions to appeal to their members to take Government work seriously “because investigations and results have shown that productivity is reducing on daily basis as the workers are not contributing their maximum and expected quota to the development and progress of the State.”

To help save the situation, the Governor proposed the need to organise talk shops 

for workers in how to put in their best, advising that Labour Unions should work in synergy with the media in the areas of education and enlightenment, not to over blot issues to the disadvantage of the workers they fight for.

While he promised that his government will  always put the workers issues on the front burner, he advised the Labour Unions to put heads together on how to tackle workers and societal problems. 

In his welcome address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour Matters, Comrade Austin Chilakpu noted that the objective of the workshop was to explore the benefits of dialogue in resolving industrial disputes and discuss best practices in Union management relations to mitigate strikes.

Other objectives, Chilakpu said include; to provide participants with practical tools and skills for effective engagements in dialogue, and create a platform for networking in sharing experiences among stakeholders in the industrial sectors.

He expressed his sincere gratitude to the Governor for giving his Office the express approval to organise the Workshop and reminded participants that under Governor Uzodimma’s administration, Imo workers have achieved a lot through dialogue in resolving disputes.

He explained that the process of dialogue has facilitated the promotion of workers and conversion exercise in the public service.  “Dialogue has helped to ensure workers get their leave allowances, enjoy free transportation to and from their offices on daily basis, receive 13th month salaries consistently for the past two years, and more.”

He drew the attention of the workers to the State Secretariat Complex that is wearing a new look, noting that, “all these and more were achieved through dialogue.” 

Chilakpu therefore urged all Labour leaders to embrace dialogue as the best option to resolving industrial disputes.

Present at the workshop were the Head of Service to Imo State Government, Barr. Raymond Ucheoma, State Acting Chairman of NLC/Chairman NUT, Mr. Philip Nwansi, among others.