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Saturday, 6 February 2016

Imo State Boils Over Labour/Govt Face Off, As Workers Strike Looms


. Labour Leaders Storm Owerri For Protest.
.Pro Okorocha Youth Group Vow To Contain Protesters
 .NLC Petitions Imo Gov To Pres.Buhari
  .Igbo Awareness Coalition Says Workers Sack Is Man’s Inhumanity To Man

. Traditional Rulers Sue For Dialogue


There is tension in Owerri, Imo State capital over plans by workers solidly backed by the national leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC to embark on strike.

INNONEWS.COM was reliably informed that the strike may commence on Monday, 8th February, 2016.

A source revealed to this Newspaper that “the strike will be total, as workers in the State with the support of NLC leaders will embark on massive protests in Owerri to register their grievances over anti labour policies of the Okorocha administration”

Already, the State government has raised concern over the invasion of “all manner of Labour leaders into the State” just as a youth group hurriedly mobilized by Kenneth Emelu, an aide to Governor Okorocha on Youth Matters has vowed to resist and contain the planned mass  action of the labour leaders in Imo State
The Youth group paid a solidarity visit to Imo State Governor at Government House, Owerri on Friday,5th February,2016.

 Also, the State government has frowned at a purported letter written by the NLC leadership led by Comrade Abba Wabba to President Muhammadu Buhari condemning Okorocha’s insensitivity to the plight of workers in Imo State and his anti- labour policies.

This Newspaper gathered that based on these latest developments, tension is now increasing in the State capital as labour now plans to go on a full blown strike action.  

Despite the looming strike, the State government has maintained its stance, insisting that there is no going back on its concession policy of some parastatals and agencies that led to the disengagement of some workers in the State recently.

Government officials maintain that its concession policy is aimed at re-positioning the agencies to make more productive, adding that the sacked workers were indolent thus making such parastatals and agencies a drain pipe on the finances of the State government.

According to a statement by Chidi Ibe, Commissioner for Information, no worker is owed a dime in Imo State, pointing out  that a high powered team has been constituted by the State government to ensure that January, 2016 salaries are promptly paid to workers.  

While explaining its intention to pay workers, the Commissioner implored those dislocated by the concession of government agencies to proceed to the law courts to seek to redress rather than embark on strike.

However, the Igbo Awareness Coalition, (IAC) has condemned the sack of some workers in Imo State. It described the action of the Imo State government as “Man’s inhumanity to Man”

In a statement signed by Rev Emmanuel Duru (President) and Johnbosco Igwe (Secretary) and made available to this online newspaper, the Coalition said the disengagement of some workers in Imo State is unacceptable, stressing that reasons advanced by the State government for its action are not tenable.

Part of the statement reads:

“The reasons for the sack of some workers by Governor Okorocha of Imo State are not tenable. While we understand that there is a significant drop in the monthly allocation to the State from the Federation account, this situation is not only applicable to Imo State but to other States in the country.

“No other State, including non oil producing States has sacked its workers despite the fall of crude oil in the international market. We therefore wonder why Imo State government which receives additional numerous and financial benefits as an oil producing State will disengage as much as 3,000 workers from the Civil Service.

“This action is clear exhibition of man’s inhumanity to man coming at a time there is biting hunger and groaning hardship in the land. We call on Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to reconsider his action and re-instate the workers.

Meanwhile, the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers has called on both the State government and labour in the State to sheath their swords.

Chairman of the Council of Monarchs, Eze Sam Ohiri in a statement signed by his media assistant, Gift Nwokoro, called on both labour and government to return to the negotiating table and suspend further actions on the matter.   

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