Governor Rochas Okorocha
Workers in Imo State under the aegis of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Joint Service Negotiating Council (JSNC) yesterday urged the state Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, to recall the suspended Permanent Secretary in the state Civil Service, Mr. Austin Otuokere.
The workers premised their argument on the fact that the state government did not follow laid down rules in suspending the official.
Addressing workers, including health workers in the state, the state chairman of the JSNC, Mr. Austin Okwara, decried the suspension of Otuokere, whom he said, was directed to stay away from office without the usual issuance of query and consent of the Civil Service Commission in the state as specified in the Civil Service rules and regulation.
Okwara, who addressed workers in the premises of the state secretariat, Port Harcourt Road, Owerri said if they were not satisfied by any explanation from the governor after a meeting on February 11, they would be left with no other option than to embark on an indefinite strike until their demand was met.
He said if the suspended Permanent Secretary, who was at a time posted to the Imo State Liaison Office, Abuja to head there, including Government House, Owerri for years, could be treated in such manner without any known offense, any other worker could face the same fate.
Speaking further, he demanded that the state government should stop the decision to deduct one per cent of every worker’s salary for onward transmission to Imo Foundation Agency, adding that there was no time workers agreed with government on such.
On the issue of health workers owed about six months salaries, the labour chief said government should pay them without further waste of time, adding that even any ministry that was yet to pay salaries of their staff should do so.
Meanwhile, judicial workers in the state, who commenced strike on Monday, however, demanded the implementation of the national minimum wage as approved by the Federal Government.
THISDAY checks revealed that following the strike, courts were still under lock and key.
It was, however, gathered that the state government, through the Chief of Staff, Finance Commissioner, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state and the Accountant General have begun negotiation with the judicial workers’ union leaders in the state.