Workers in Ebonyi state have threatened to embark on indefinite strike if the state government fails to pay salaries arrears owed them since May,2015.
According to state organized Labour comprising of NLC, TUC and NUT, the indefinite strike has been scheduled to commence on Tuesday next week.
The planned strike action was contained in a bulletin issued yesterday and titled “resumption of strike action –we are on it again”, which was circulated in all the states offices; the organized Labour directed workers to comply with the directive accordingly.
According to the statement, you may recall that the organized labour in Ebonyi state had on 19th April, 2015 suspended her one month old strike action after an agreement had been reached and signed between
the organized labour and the state government where 50 percent out of
60 percent recommended and collectively agreed salary table submitted by the government constituted committee on February, 2015 headed by the state Auditor General Chief Boniface Ezaegu.
The worker who noted that the workers in the state voted en mass for governor, Engr. Umahi recalled that in one of the governor’s campaign outings held at the Peoples’ Club, Abakaliki before the last elections, he promised to pay 100 percent minimum wage if voted into power.
“You may also recall that this present Governor while campaigning had at the Peoples’ Club promised to pay 100 percent minimum wage when he comes on board prompting the workers to massive support and voted for his victory in the just concluded elections. As today the governor has refused to approve the payment salaries of workers since he assumed office which is not only frustrating but unacceptable to Ebonyi workers”, the statement said.
The statement further stated that it would reject any option as speculated in some quarters from the state asking workers to accept and revert to the old salary structure of 30 percent earlier in place before the 50 percent increment.
The statement wondered that the nonpayment of workers is happening in the face of the recent intervention funds (bailout) by the federal government to states to clear backlog of salaries and pension arrears owed to workers.
“In the light of this, the organized labour in her meeting on 15th July, 2015 resolved to resume the suspended indefinite strike action with effect from Tuesday 21th July, 2015.
“So all workers in the state civil and public service are hereby directed to comply accordingly by staying at home until otherwise directed by the labour”, the statement added.
However, in an interview with newsmen after the leaders of the organized labour met with the governor, Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, said that the strike action was irreversible if the state government failed to meet their demand.
Comrade Nwafor said the state government is insisting on revisiting the new salary table on the ground that it discovered some errors but the organized Labour is maintaining that while the government is revisiting the salary table, the last month salary of workers must be paid as according to him, workers no longer have money to pay fare to work.
On the contrary, Nwafor disclosed that the leadership of Nigeria Union of Local government employees, NULGE, said workers under the union would not be part of the strike but the NULGE state chairman has declined to speak.
In response, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour Relations, Mrs Grace Chukwu told newsmen that the organized Labour have agreed to shelve the planned industrial action as government was working round the clock to ensure workers were paid.
Governor Dave Umahi had earlier appealed to the National President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba to beg Ebonyi civil servants to accept the old salary structure that existed before former Governor Martin Elechi reviewed it upward at the twilight of his administration at the moment in view of the dwindling economy.
Umahi made the plea during a courtesy visit to the National chairman at his office in Abuja noted some challenges that would prevent government from paying the new salaries structure in the state.

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