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May Day: Obigwe, Idima task Ikpeazu on workers, pensioners’ plight

By Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia
02 May 2022   |   3:33 am
May Day in Abia State was marked by two factions of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), led by Uchenna Obingwe and Eze Idima.

• I remain Abia NLC Chairman, says Obigwe
• Government will continue to improve welfare of workers, says Uzodimma 

May Day in Abia State was marked by two factions of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), led by Uchenna Obingwe and Eze Idima.

Idima’s faction met at the Kolping Conference Hall with large attendance for a symposium on the theme: “Labour, Politics And The Quest For Good Governance And Development In Nigeria.”

In the address read by Idima’s vice, Hope Ekwuribe, the state governor Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, was commended for not retrenching workers despite the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crunch, including rehabilitating some roads.

They tasked the governor to pay special attention to the plight of pensioners, noting that while government paid salaries of workers in the core civil service up to March 2022, some in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and local councils remained in arrears of several months and years.

According to NLC, Abia State Teaching Hospital workers are owed 25 months; those of Hospital Management Board, 11 months, Abia Polytechnic, 24 months, College of Education 28 months, among others.

Meanwhile, Obigwe’s group held an executive meeting at the state NLC Secretariat in Umuahia and addressed journalists, saying that the decision of NLC was that there would be no usual gathering as was the case in years 2020 and 2021 to prevent hoodlums using it to cause mayhem and in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obigwe reiterated that going by subsisting Industrial Court verdict, he remains the NLC Chairman in Abia pending the determination of his suit before the said court.

He said the security agents in the state, who were served with the court order, were already directed to enforce it and ensure peaceful commemoration of the May Day anniversary.

He also urged Ikpeazu to strive to settle all arrears of workers’ salaries and pensions before the end of his tenure in May 2023 and to ensure that a labour-friendly and sensitive candidate succeeds him in office.

MEANWHILE, Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has assured workers in Imo that his government will continue to improve on their welfare and working conditions.

Uzodimma, who made the pledge, yesterday, also canvassed the need for cordial relationships with the various labour organisations in the country.

In a statement to mark the 2022 Workers Day, he said: “I have constantly acknowledged the importance of Labour in our society and the need for a commensurate appreciation of the dedication and sacrifices of our workers.

“As a government, we have maintained a cordial relationship with the various labour unions in the state and have continued to improve on welfare and working conditions of Imo workers.

“With the reformed system we have implemented, Imo workers now have a defined career path that guarantees growth even as they enjoy other benefits including the new minimum wage, automated and prompt benefit payment, free transport shuttle, workplace healthcare services and others.