Christian Appolos – Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has threatened to commence a total shutdown of Sam Mbakwe Airport, part of National Grid that supplies electricity and the operation Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) service in Imo State in protest against ill-treatment to workers by Governor Hope Uzodinma.
NLC in a statement signed by its President in the state, Comrade Joe Ajaero and made available to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Nigeria Labour Congress listed among the reasons for its proposed industrial action include; “20 months Salary arrears owed to some workers stigmatised as ghost workers. Declaration of about 11,000 workers in the state as ghost workers even while they were physically at work and the diversion of their salaries.
“Intimidation and Harassment of Trade Union leaders; a witch hunt carried out in different guises. The continued use of thugs and instruments of violence against workers in the state was furthered in the terror of yesterday.
“Impoundment and illegal diversion of Union dues in the state. Declaration of about 10,000 pensioners as ghost Pensioners and refusal to pay them for over 22 months led to the death of many. Harassment and intimidation of the entire workforce with constant threats of violence and sacking.
“The Resort to blackmail and falsehood through the Information Commissioner of the state whose infamous role as an attack dog of the administration has not only scuttled reasonable and effective social dialogue but has also brought the state to ridicule.”
NLC went on to say, “We are resolved to press home our demands and until these infractions are remedied, we will continue escalating the industrial action till the government is compelled to show reason and restore meaningful and effective dialogue in the state.
“NLC calls on the federal government to use whatsoever may be at its disposal to protect the lives of the citizens and workers in Imo state. The actions and inactions of the state government are capable of turning the state into a ghost state and this must be avoided. The actions of the federal government would go a long way in ensuring that sanity is restored and that people are free to participate in social activities without fear and intimidation.
“Consequently in pursuit of our legitimate strike action to restore sanity to the state’s industrial relations sphere, we wish to advise that: those travelling to Imo State through the Airport to look for other alternatives.
“Those that make use of Petroleum products should make efforts to seek alternatives and, those that use Electricity to seek other options outside the national grid.”
The statement further said; “The government of Imo state has become a serial abuser and violator of the rights and privileges of its workers. It has deliberately turned the State into the most uncomfortable clime for workers in Nigeria.
“As it stands today, the state has almost made it seem a criminal offence to be a worker. We have taken notice of the previous actions of the government and had warned severally of the implications of their unreasonable actions and had demanded that a new leaf be turned but sadly, these warnings were left unheeded.”
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