The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Abia State chapter has decried the backlog of salaries being owed to workers in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the state, calling for proactive measures to promote prompt and regular payment of workers.
Featuring on ABN TV talkshow, “Talk Make I Talk” as part of activities marking the 2019 May Day celebration, the chairman of the Abia state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Uchenna U. Obigwe expressed dissatisfaction with the treatment workers in the state get terms of salary payment and the working conditions.
“I was duly elected on Thursday last week 25th of April, 2019 for my second term bid. Where we have challenges is the parastatals where a lot of salaries were being owed.
“Our struggle in this second tenure is to sustain the issue of regular payment of salaries in the MDAs then we will go for a structure for payment of salaries and the arrears in the parastatals with the pensioners. We believe injury to one is injury to all.” Comrade Uchenna said.
On the actual number of months being owed to workers in the state, comrade Uchenna said, “Abia state teaching hospital-12 months, Hospital management board-10months, Abia polytechnic (Aba)-13 months, Arochukwu technical-13months, Abia college of Health and science- 12 months, ASUBEB-6 months, that of pensioners is between 19 – 25 months.”
The Labour leader blamed the management of the government parastatals for not being financially responsible to the workers in their parastatals in terms of payment of salary, charging them to sit up.
“We call on the management of these parastatals to sit up, because you cannot generate funds, instead of using it judiciously, you use it to buy gas and go for travel tours” Comrade Ogbonna warned.
“I can never and I am not in the side of the government. My Job is to be a watch dog to ensure that the welfare of workers is not trampled upon. We have told government to remove any management that is not doing well, but the reason they gave for not removing some of them is because their legal tenure-ship.”
On why there has not been any serious procession over non-payment of salaries, he explained, “We have been diplomatic because as the governor came on board, he has been dragged here and there in court by his opponent. Before then, these salary arrears, has accumulated before his regime. That of Abia state University Hospital (ABSUTH) & Health Management Board (HMB) was reduced drastically to nothing. Unfortunately, this same government allows these arrears of salaries to accumulate for HMB and ABSUTH, which is not funny.
Comrade Uchenna noted that ABSUTH are on strike for three months now. “Government has agreed with them to come back to work. They drafted the agreement which I vetted and they told me that from the agreement, from May, they will be paying two-two month’s salary. If by the end of May, they don’t pay, we will know they are jokers. But if they start paying I will work with them. If they fail, you will see the true light of Labour in Abia State.” Comrade Uchenna Warned.
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