BY CHIDI NKWOPARA, OWERRI.
The radio and television channels of Imo Broadcasting Corporation, IBC, Owerri, were Friday shutdown, following the three-day warning strike embarked on by aggrieved staff of the establishment.
When Vanguard visited the station 10am Friday, on a fact finding mission, the gate was securely locked, while some of the workers were seen in groups, bemoaning their plight.
Two of the workers, who spoke to Vanguard on strict grounds of anonymity, lamented that IBC management and board, as well as the state government, have no regard for their welfare.
“It sounds unbelievable but we were only paid December 2013 salary last night (Thursday) when the state government and management heard that we were fully primed to embark on strike”, the staff recounted.
While saying that they are being owed January and February salaries, the aggrieved staff also disclosed that all monies deducted from staff salaries in respect of the Cooperative, Thrift and Loan Society, CTLS, and check off dues for the three labour unions in IBC, were never remitted to the respective labour unions.
“CTLS is a registered cooperative society where the staff run to when in financial need. Reports have it that since October last year, the check off dues have not been remitted to the unions and the CTLS remains unfunded”, the worker fumed.
The workers accused the management of not only being insensitive to their plight but was also in the habit of constantly embarking on what they termed “unwarranted and frivolous tours”.
“We sleep in the studio after closedown, under inhuman conditions. There are dangerous reptiles lucking around. Nobody is given any stipend for this. We do not have operational vehicles to move workers”, a female worker told Vanguard.
She equally complained about non-payment of seven months minimum wage arrears, which government agreed to pay, adding that “up till now, no responsible answer has been given to us”.
The woman said the workers were highly incensed when the IBC board Chairman, Mr. Ifeanyi Olumba, allegedly accused the striking workers of being sponsored by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
“Do we need PDP to tell us when our children are sick and hungry? Were we owed during PDP administrations? This is the first time IBC was shutdown for non-payment of workers salaries since the creation of Imo State”, the angry woman said.