Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has asked the Imo State Government to immediately pay the three months’ salary arrears owed to workers and pensioners in the state.
The congress also wrote to the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, to complain against an alleged anti-union posture of the Rivers State Government that led to the sealing of the NLC’s office in Rivers State by agents of the state government over the new National Minimum Wage’s implementation.
In a letter addressed to the governor and made available to newsmen yesterday in Abuja, the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said that workers and pensioners in the state were yet to receive salaries and pension since March 2020.
Wabba said: “I write to bring to your esteemed attention the unfair, inclement and very harsh working conditions that public workers in Imo State are currently facing.
“Some of these very dehumanising conditions includes the payment of salaries are staggered as less than 70 per cent of public and civil servants have not been paid salaries since March 2020.
“Incidences of salary slashes in the Ministry of Justice, which paid only 25 per cent of the salaries for April, May and June and no reason was given for this,” he said.
Wabba said that the negotiation between workers’ representative organisations and the Imo State Government on salaries adjustment consequent on the new national minimum wage has been suspended by the state government.
“Pensioners in Imo State are owed more than three months pension arrears. Also the non-remittance of check-off deductions since February 2020 and stoppage of check-off dues deductions by the Ministries Departments and Agencies,” he said.
The NLC president said that what is going on right now in Imo State is akin to modern slave labour.
According to him, it is really unfortunate that even trade unions and other workers’ representative organisations are not spared the current hostile industrial relations climate in Imo State.
“We understand that statutory check-off dues deductions from workers in Imo State are not remitted to the trade unions and to the national labour centres as our labour laws demand.
“In fact, Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Imo State have for some time now stopped the deduction of check-off dues. These anti-labour behaviours are against our laws as a country,” he said.
Also in a letter with reference number, NLC/NS/B.21/22B addressed to governor Wike, the NLC complained among other grievances that the government was yet to conclude and sign an agreement with organised labour as required by extant labour statutes on the implementation of the new national minimum wage.