Imo state - Gov. in Contention With Worker
state - Gov. in Contention With Worker. Last week, the disagreement between Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, and the state civil servants over the proposed commercialization of ministries as well as re-deployment of workers from Grade Level 01 to 06 to their respective communities reached its peak when the organised labour in the state, asked workers to remain at home until the government rescinded its decision on the issues at stake.
Apparently aware of the effects of the strike action to the smooth running of the machinery of government, a visibly worried governor summoned the warring labour leaders to an emergency meeting the same day the strike got off the ground.
The state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC),Comrade Reginald Anyadike told LEADERSHIP, that the strike became necessary following the failure of the state government to sign an agreement reached by both parties. Anyadike listed details of the accord to include withdrawal of government’s decision to commercialize the ministries, the re-deployment of some civil servants to rural communities to pursue the state’s Fourth Tier System of Government, also known as the Community Government Council, payment of leave allowances to workers, as well as pension and gratuities to retired civil servants.
The strike action was suspended before dusk on Wednesday, May 30, 2012, after officials of the state government signed the contentious agreement. But that was after the state economy had last several millions of naira following the closure of public and private offices, commercial houses, including banks, supermarkets, markets, schools etc. Though the government last week agreed to discard the plans to commercialise the ministries as well as post some civil servants to the rural communities in line With the agreement it reached With the striking workers, LEADERSHIP gathered that the Okorocha’s administration is still bent on implementing those polices. The organised labour in the state has expressed surprise that the state government could jettison the agreement, and insisted on implementing those policies that led the workers to embark on strike action in the first place. The reasoning in the labour camp is that the Okorocha’s administration is insincere, and one that should not be trusted.
Labour in the state is said to be tinkering With the idea of rekindling the strike since it appears that the state government has reneged on its promise to drop the controversial policies. However, the affected workers are presently helpless as most of them are already scrambling to collect the redeployment forms. At the time of filing this report, most of the civil servants have already been posted to their new places of work in the rural areas despite glaring unavailability of office accommodation and places of residence.
Most of the workers have expressed worry as to what would be their fate in the new community government administration of Okorocha. A civil servant from one of the ministries who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the redeployment exercise is already tearing their homes apart because of the argument between them and their on how many homes to be operated at the same time. Another victim of the redeployment exercise said the governor was asking for too much from the workers. He wondered what will happen to civil servants pay in a situation where the ministries are unable to raise money to pay the workers’ salaries as entailed in the commercialisation exercise.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state led by Barrister. Eze Duruihuoma, has described the community government practice of the present administration as a “wonder government”. In a press statement signed by the publicity secretary of the party, Chief Blyden Amajirionwu,and made available to LEADERSHIP reads in part:
“This administration is creating unworkable community government councils in all the autonomous communities in the state. This is not only unconstitutional but obnoxious.
“More horrifying is the down-sizing of staff going on in each of the ministries. The governor has given directives for the reduction of the work force in every ministry to a maximum of hundred personnel only; a greater number of civil servants are being forcefully redeployed to their communities to engage in an unplanned agriculture or in the community government council. To the understanding of the Imo citizens, this is just a ploy to push back these civil servants into the labour market”.
The state chairman of NLC, Anyadike told LEADERSHIP that the issue of the redeployment of the state civil servants to their various communities had not been addressed by the government.
According to Anyadike, a blue print for the workability of the redeployment proposal has been sent to the state government and the unions concerned was asked to properly study it and come up With a resolution. And until that happens, the labour would keep its fingers crossed. He also told LEADERSHIP that the union never entered any agreement With ministries but rather agreed With the state government not to tie the salaries of the workers to the proceeds of the commercialisation process.
Imo state - Gov. in Contention With Worker
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