The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Abia State chapter has concluded plans to resume their suspended strike action.
In a statement issued on Monday and signed by the State Secretary, Comrade Emma Alozie, the union said, “The State Executive Council, SEC of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC after careful deliberation on the plethora of problems Abia Workers and pensioners are facing in the hands of Abia State Government at her meeting on Friday, 5th May 2023 unanimously resolved to resume the suspended indefinite strike action.
“From the foregoing, all Abia Workers, including those in the LGAs are directed to withdraw their services to Abia State Government and stay at home from 12 midnight on Monday, 8th May 2023”.
The union ordered all chairpersons and secretaries of all affiliate unions to sensitize and mobilize their members for total compliance.
Addressing the select press in Umuahia, the State chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC Comrade Pascal Iheme Nweke confirmed the action, stating, “By midnight, Abia workers will begin an indefinite strike over non-payment of salaries and pensions”.
Comrade Iheme explained that Abia NLC met with the state government where the Secretary to the State Government, SSG presided and an agreement was reached and signed by both parties, regretting, “after that, nothing was done. We later wrote them again”.
According to the Labour boss, “They invited me and our Secretary and explained that they had problems with their banks. We saw them.
“We gave them time to solve their bank problems and later, nothing happened”.
Nweke disclosed, “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”.
It would be recalled that in his speech during the 2023 Workers Day celebration in Umuahia, Comrade Pascal Iheme Nweke had 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 (TSS) of 27.5% 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 (HMB) – 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 – 7months of salary arrears and non implementation of minimum wage.
The list further include, SEMB – 18 months and non implementation of minimum wage, Abia State Library – 14 months of salary arrears and non implementation of minimum wage, Abia State College of Health Sciences and Management Technology Al Aba – 2 months salary arrears, non-implementation of CONHESS to Social Welfare, Livestock, Veterinary and Health Workers in the L.G.A since 2009, non-payment of leave bonus allowances to Abia workers since 2013 till date, non-payment of 7 months arrears of check-off dues deducted from workers salaries to their various Unions and 43 months of pension arrears and 21 years of gratuity.
Iheme noted that the state government has all the data on civil service salaries, stating, “if workers starts 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 called on the state government to do the needful, stating that Abia NLC has put a taskforce in motion to monitor the strike.
He further advised the workers to be ready for the strike Tuesday “untill we achieve our aim”.
However, the Head of Service, HOS 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.
A trusted source in the government said the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chris Ezem and the HOS, Onyii Wamah met with the Labour leadership in the state last Friday and have been calling on the Labour to sheat their sword.
The SSG, Ezem could not be reached as his line was not going.