BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT— RIVERS State chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has threatened to embark on a two-day warning strike from Monday next week, if the Police failed to allow workers of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area resume duties at the council’s secretariat.
It will be recalled that despite a court order asking the Police to allow the workers resume at the secretariat, which they (Police) sealed off over allegations of plot by hoodlums to wreak havoc on the place, the police were yet to vacate the secretariat.
Briefing newsmen, yesterday, the NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC, said labour was not an interested party in the crisis rocking Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, adding that workers should not be made to suffer over the political crisis.
State NLC Chairman, Mr. Chris Oruge, said: “We wrote to the Police to obey the court order and we also wrote to the state government to pay our workers their salaries. We gave them seven days ultimatum, which expires Friday. We will embark on a two-day warning strike on Monday and Tuesday, if nothing is done, and thereafter, we will carry out an indefinite strike action.”
He said that staff of Obio/Akpor council had not been paid their salaries for April and May, adding that the Police should allow workers resume at the secretariat while they continue to mount security around the council’s property.
Oruge said it was not the responsibility of his union to decide who runs the council, between the Caretaker Committee and the local government officials suspended by the state House of Assembly, but that the Police should allow workers resume at their duty posts.
“If the Caretaker Committee members are not allowed to go in and the suspended elected officials are also not allowed to go in, they should allow our workers in. We have a Head of Personnel that can run the council until the politicians resolve their problem. We are not against police being at the secretariat but they should allow our workers resume work,” he said.
State TUC Chairman, Mr Chika Unuegbu, added that his members will join NLC to press for the rights of staff of Obio/Akpor council workers, stressing that an injury to one was an injury to all.
He said: “We will join LC in this fight; an injury to NLC is an injury to TUC. The Nigeria Police should obey the court order. We will join in the indefinite strike action if it gets to that.”