Organised labour in Imo State yesterday held a low-keyed celebration to mark the 2016 Annual Workers’ Day celebration with majority of the workers not turning up for the march past and other activities slated to mark the day.
The event held at the Heroes Square, Owerri witnessed an unprecedented poor attendance of members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC.
Added to the challenge of poor turnout of members of the various unions was the absence of the state Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha who it was alleged had deliberately shunned the event because of the apparent strained relationship between the state government and workers in the state.
The few workers who turned out for the celebration had waited for the arrival of the governor for over four hours to commence the event to no avail just as some left in utter frustration after the long wait before arrival of the Secretary to the Government of Imo State, SGI, Sir George E. Eche, who eventually represented the governor.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that many workers especially those of the embattled parastatals boycotted the celebration while the usual group parades were done by a few trade unions.
The venue of the event which in previous years was always filled to the brim was virtually empty and the day lacked the axial fanfare that characterized the annual celebration.
Earlier in address, the state Chairman of TUC, Comrade Paul Akalazu regretted that the 2016 May Day came at a time the national economy was at its worst ebb with government at all levels struggling with the but ting effects of the fall in crude oil price and the attendant sharp drop in the value of the Naira against US Dollar.
He explained that the inability of the joint committee of government and labour appointed by government to pay workers in full was because the committee received N3.6b from government instead of N5.3b said to be salaries of workers in the state pointing out that the situation resulted to the payment of 70% salaries to workers since it could not go round on 100 percent per worker.
He said that the committee also received N2.6b and when it was discovered that it cannot meet up, government beefed it up with additional N2.9b to enable it come up to 80% for workers.
He said that the organized labour is only supervising the payment of salaries to ensure that no worker was either victimized or denied his or her salaries adding that payment is domiciled at the Accountant General’s office.

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