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Labour gives Ikpeazu one week to address pending issues for workers

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There may be a showdown between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Abia State Government if Governor Okezie Ikpeazu fails to address pending issues affecting the state’s public servants.

Chairman of the state NLC, Comrade Uchenna Obigwe, told The Guardian that the showdown would commence if the government failed to address the workers outstanding issues for which it gave Governor Ikpeazu seven days to address.

He listed the unresolved issues as illegal reduction of pension contributions, unpaid salary arrears, minimum wage issues and other workers’ welfare packages, adding that the decision to allow the state government to sort things out within seven days was taken during the state NLC meeting at the weekend.

Obigwe, however, disclosed that the workers noted that Ikpeazu had directed remittance of the workers deducted check-off dues to the unions and that the remittance should henceforth subsist as and when due.

Chief of Staff (COS) to the Governor, Dr. Anthony Agbazuere, had in a memo to the Finance, Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs commissioners, Head of Service, Accountant General and Auditor General last week, directed government agencies withholding such check-off dues to remit them immediately to the workers unions. He disclosed that Ikpeazu was surprised at complaints from labour unions in the state in respect of the non-remittance of the dues.

Agbazuere argued that as far as check-off dues were part of the worker’s salary, which they elected to pay to their unions, the deduction ought to be remitted to the unions as and when due.

“The governor warned that any government officer that withholds workers check-off dues does so at his or her own risk and does not have the state government’s authority or protection to do so,” the memo stated.

While inaugurating the newly appointed 13 permanent secretaries comprising five females and eight males, the Deputy Governor, Ude Oko Chukwu, urged them to be committed to service in accordance with the rules and directives governing their engagement. Obigwe also said in accordance with NLC’s directive, the state chapter had constituted a 17-man Labour Civil Society Situation Room Committee on prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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