By Dennis Agbo
ABAKALIKIâ€”IN compliance with an earlier directive by the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, JPSNC, the trade union side in Ebonyi State, to boycott the Workers Day celebration in the state, the May Day celebration in the state was marred with low turnout, as most workersÂ stayed away from the rally despite the attendance of Governor Martin Elechi of the state.
Though the Governor did not speak on areas the workers would have loved to hear, such as pay rise, the state chief executive virtually spoke to an empty arena,Â as very few workers were present at the Abakaliki township stadium venue of the rally.
The Governor, however, promised the workers that he will conduct a free and fair local government election, scheduled for July this year while urging for attitudinal change in the workers in the discharge of their duties.
JPSNC, the trade Union side in the state had issued a bulletin, stating reasons why the workers should boycott the workers day rally in Abakaliki. In a statement circulatedÂ few days before the rally, the union said that the associations that make up the union met and reviewed the issues that made them boycott the workers day in 2009 and â€œit discovered that nothing had changed.â€
The statement said that â€œthe council noted that Mr Onyemaechi Eke, its chairman is still suspended by the Ebonyi State government for no justifiable reason; the state Executive council ofÂ Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ebonyi State has not been summoned for the past two years and till date, nothing is mentioned by the so called NLC leaders in the state about the 2010 May Day celebration.â€
JPSNC, the trade union side further said that the issue raised by the council on the welfare packages for civil/public servants in the state was still not considered by government, lamenting that the workers were walloping in abject poverty with increased cost of living, as after the salary, there is no other incentives.
â€œThe industrial atmosphere in the state is very uncertain, the owners of May Day (workers) have the right to celebrate it the way they deem fit. You should avoid being harassed, intimated and coerced by those repressive agents masquerading as NLC officials and their pay masters in the state,â€ the bulletin said.