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The government of Abia State has served a notice by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), of its intention to stage what it described as the ‘mother of all strikes’ in Abia State over the alleged government’s refusal to offset arrears of workers’ salaries and pension retirement benefits.
Consequently, Congress has given a 14-day ultimatum to the government to address all the industrial infractions against workers, failure of which, it would embark on a long-drawn protest in the State.
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In a letter dated 13th February 2023, signed by the President of NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and forwarded to the State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, a copy of which was made available to Daily Champion, the Congress also warned the government to stop the victimization of workers and trade unions in the State.
The letter read: ‘Pursuant to the declaration of a trade dispute with the Abia State Government, we write to notify the Abia State Government that workers in Abia State will withdraw their services and cooperation with the Abia State Government until the following arrears of unpaid salaries and pension benefits of Abia State workers and pensioners, respectively, are fully offset.’
They include, among others, Unpaid Pension–August–December 2014 (5 months); Unpaid Pension–January–December 2018 (12 months); Arrears of Unpaid Gratuity–21 years (2001–2022); Non-implementation of Harmonized percentage increases in Pension Benefits; Non-Implementation of Minimum Pension.
Others include unpaid salaries and allowances owed by Abia State workers in different State Government ministries, departments, agencies, schools, and local governments, among others.
Local Government Employees—3 months; Staff of ABSUTH–23 month’s salary arrears;
Secondary School Teachers–11 months of salary arrears; Pensioners in Abia State–30 months pension benefits; Workers in Abia State Polytechnic–30 months salary arrears and Workers in Abia State College of Education –29 months salary.
‘Furthermore, the approval of CONHESS is yet to be implemented in Abia State since May 2021 till date. It is on record that the NBTE withdrew the accreditation of the Abia State Polytechnic recently.
‘The list of infractions against workers in Abia State goes on and on.N30,000 minimum national minimum wage is yet to be implemented in Abia State despite the State being an oil producing State with additional revenue from the national coffers”, it further stated.