BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
…As govt doles out N1.7b for payment of workers
OWERRI — Aggrieved Imo workers, Thursday, at the State Secretariat, Port Harcourt Road, Owerri, booed the state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Dr. Reginald Anyadike, and Head of Service, HoS, Mrs. Nkechi Onumajulu.
The duo had gone to the secretariat complex to address and dissuade the workers from continuing with the industrial action called by labour’s Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, which has equally entered its third day.
Deafening shouts of “Holy Ghost Fire” intermittently rent the air each time Anyadike and Onumajul tried to speak to the striking workers.
When calm was eventually restored, Anyadike told the aggrieved workers that the current industrial action had pre-empted the scheduled holistic strike, which ought to have started May 15, 2013.
He said “the present industrial action will not work, especially as it is being carried out by only eight of 31 industrial unions operating in the state.”
He appealed to the striking workers to return to their offices and wait for May 15 when the trade dispute filed by labour would either mature or Governor Rochas Okorocha would have redressed the issues raised.
IMSG doles out N1.7b for payment of workers
Meanwhile, Imo State government has approved the release of N1.7 billion for the payment of the backlog of unpaid salaries, allowances and gratuity of workers of Imo Palm Plantation, Ohaji and Imo Concorde Hotel, Owerri.
Governor Rochas Okorocha, who announced this after a meeting with the affected workers of the two government establishments, also expressed hope that the lifeline would help in alleviating their suffering.
Scores of aggrieved workers who thronged the Ahiajoku Convention Centre, New Owerri, were told in clear terms that the state government was not in a hurry to pay them off, especially the professionals among them.
“The professionals among Imo Palm Plantation workers would be posted to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, where a palm plantation department would be established for them to help the state grow more palms,” Okorocha promised.
Okorocha dampened the workers’ spirit when he informed the hapless, hungry workers that the N900 million owed staff off Imo Palm Plantation and N700 million owed Concorde Hotel staff would be spread over 24 months.