From Evarest Ezihe, Owerri
Following the on going empasse between Imo State Government and the state chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), teachers, civil and public servants in the State have been being threatened by the state government that her policy of No Work No Pay will henceforth definitely apply to any of them who fails to report to work on daily basis except on weekends and public holidays.
Hon. Declan Emelumba, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy disclosed this while speaking to journalists in Owerri shortly after the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday noting that the policy is already being enforced.
Emelumba said government in an effort to effectively checkmate and implement the directive had resolved to set up a log- in and log-out mechanism to know the number of times workers come to work or are absent from duty, stressing that if a worker comes to work 10 out of 30 days, he will be paid for the 10 days only.
According to him “We want to make it absolutely clear to every worker, teachers , local government staff and civil servants and everyone who works with Imo State government that they must report to work as directed and those who do not ,will not be paid because you cannot sit at home and expect to be paid salary at the end of the month.”
He also pointed out that the same applies to staff of Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH), Orlu who have been on strike almost endlessly, warning that they cannot sit at home and expect to be paid as government has observed that since 2014 till date, staff of the institution have been on strike for 24 months, meaning every two years they go on strike for one year and still receive salaries.
He warned that the situation was no longer acceptable to government as Council has decided that any staff who refused to report to work will forfeit his salary.
The Council, he said has directed the setting up of a committee to look into the White Paper on the judicial panel of inquiry on land and related matters and gave them four days to bring recommendations for implementation.
The Council also gave a tentative date, February 15, 2021 for the programme of events planned towards an elaborate one year anniversary celebration of the administration to showcase quantum of achievement recorded by the Uzodimma- led administration.
Meanwhile Dr.Ayuba Wabba, National President, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has described as unacceptable the decision of Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State to proscribe Labour union in the state.
Wanna said that such act would not be accepted by the NLC.
Recall that following Mr. Austin Chilakpu, the state elected NLC Chairman stand against the state government penchant in owing workers and pensioners in the state, the state secretariat of the NLC in Owerri, Imo State was allegedly attacked by persons suspected to be thugs and hoodlums on Monday and the state government quickly recognized a faction of the labour union in the State.
Based on persistent breakdown on negotiations with the state government, Chilakpu had over last weekend announced that the workers in the state will proceed on strike, explaining that Labour has nothing against the state government other than non payment of workers salaries and pensions.
The announcement irked the state government as they described Chilakpu as an impostor and a retired civil servant.
Wabba who spoke at the 7th Quadrennial National Delegates’s Conference of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives in Abuja but monitored in Owerri described the decision of the state government as an invitation to anarchy and disruption of industrial peace and harmony in the State.
According to the National President, “We have observed that a lot of anti-union activities, including direct attacks on workers fundamental rights have been going on lately in Imo State. This is not acceptable to us. On Monday, we received sad information from Imo state. The information indicated that the state governor, Hope Uzodimma, who is supposed to be a democrat, proscribed labour unions in the state. He did not only proscribed the unions, he went ahead to constitute caretaker committee for all the unions.
“That’s undemocratic and unacceptable. The fundamental pillar of peace in the world after the first World War is International Labour Organization Convention that was propagated in 1919.”
He appealed to workers in the state to remain calm and law abiding, promising that the national headquarters of NLC in Abuja would take measures against the Governor if he failed to reverse the decision within a time frame.