The Nigeria Labour Congress in Abia State has concluded plans to commence an indefinite strike tomorrow (Tuesday) over several months and years of pensions owed its members by the out-going state government led by Okezie Ikpeazu The state chairman of the NLC, Pascal Nweke, disclosed this to newsmen Monday, saying, “By midnight tomorrow, Abia workers will begin an indefinite strike over non-payment of salaries and pensions.”
Nweke explained that Abia NLC had met with the state government and an agreement was reached and signed by both parties but “after that, nothing was done.” “They invited me and our Secretary and explained that they had problems with their banks. We gave them time to solve their bank problems and later, nothing happened. “Last week to our surprise, the state government embarked on discriminatory salary payment by paying the Local Government staff their March salaries, whereas, others are owed more than 36 months’ salaries,” he added.
In his speech during the 2023 Workers Day celebration in Umuahia, Nweke listed the indebtedness to Abia workers to include, Senior Secondary School Teachers – 28 months salary arrears and 14 months and half salary arrears, Junior Secondary School Teachers – Teachers salary structure of 27.5 per cent not paid since over 10 years, 10 months salary arrears and 4 months half salary arrears.
Others include Abia Line Network – (36 months salary arrears) non-implementation of minimum wage at the Local Government level – (even the ten thousand naira across all level consequential adjustment was not implemented too), November and December 2020 salary to the Local Government Staff still outstanding, Hospital Management Board (16 months salary arrears), ABSUTH Aba (27 months of salary arrears), ABSU (12 months of salary arrears), Abia Poly, Aba (43 months salary arrears), ASCETA Arochukwu — 32 months salary arrears and ASUBEB Headquarters (seven months of salary arrears and non-implementation of minimum wage); amongst others.
He added, “If workers start receiving alerts, we can begin to talk. “We will wait to see what they will do before passing the bulk of the debt to the next administration in the state. By 12am, the indefinite strike will begin”.He further advised the workers to be ready for the strike Tuesday until the union achieved its aim. However, the Head of Service, Onyii Wamah, called for dialogue stating that it is not in the character of the state government to owe its workers and has been paying. However, efforts to reach the Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, proved abortive as his line was not available.
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