Nonsochukwu Uwa, Owerri
Two different factions of the Imo State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, on Monday disagreed over the non-payment of workers’ pensions and gratuities of retired workers in the state.
The two groups marked their Workers Day separately in Owerri.
The Governor Hope Uzodimma-backed, group, Orgarnised Labour, was at the Heroes Square, led by Sabastine Iwu. While the other group led by George Ofoegbu, has the support of the National Leadership of NLC, led by Comrade Joe Ajaero.
The theme of this year’s Workers Day was “Worker’s Rights and Socio-economic Justice.”
First to fire, was Ofoegbu’s group saying: “The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, will not form a blind eye to the many labour-related issues in the state, and since it is in line with the traditional practices of using the May Day, to draw the attention of the government’ we wish to do so on the following labour-related issues in the state.
“Nonpayment of national minimum wage, of N30,000. The organised Labour Congress, Imo State made her worries and concerns known to the state on minimum wage and since then nothing has been done by the state government.
“This was signed in 2019 and four years from that time Imo State remains among one of the few states where it is yet to be implemented.
“Nonpayment of salaries of workers in the state: NLC, had on many occasions been informed that the state government is not owing any worker or pensioner in the state and to clear this doubt, we have initiated a process of collecting data of those affected and it is very saddening to inform that some workers and pensioners in the state have been owed salaries arrears and pensions and gratuity since, 2020 especially, that of NUT, NULGE. This disheartening act has led to the loss of lives.”
Reacting, the Uzodimma-backed Organised Labour, headed by Sabastine Iwu, disagreed with the Ofoegbu while commending the governor for prompt payment of salaries and pensions.
He said: “The organised labour of Imo State, in line with organised labour in Abuja, we wish to state NLC elections was a labour affair. Government has no hand in it. Rather Ajaero wanted to install his brother as NLC chairman in the state. The government has not sacked any workers. Accusing the government of sacking workers was unfounded.
“We commend Uzodimma for prompt payment of salaries and pensions to Imo workers. We commend the governor for the provision of free transportation for Imo workers. We commend the governor for the renovation of the Imo State secretariat for a conducive environment for workers. Also, for the construction of quality roads in Imo State.”
“We appreciate the government for the commencement of the payment of gratuities to retired pensioners in Imo State. We also commend the governor for the approval of the payment of outstanding pensioners in the state. Not only that, we commend the government for its kind approval of the payment of unverified workers/pensioners in Imo State,” Uzodimma’s group said.