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Okorocha Bows To Labour, Recalls Suspended Workers To End Protests

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The Imo State government has recalled workers it suspended in 19 parastatals in the state, ending the disagreement between the government and labour unions on the issue.

The decision was reached on Wednesday after a meeting between the State government officials and some leaders of the labour unions.

Signed Agreement

In an agreement signed after talks by the ‘Committee on Joint Government-Labour Negotiation in Imo State’, an immediate recall of all suspended workers of Imo State was recommended, “notwithstanding that the parastatals in the opinion of Government should have been more productive”.

One of the other clauses in the agreement is that the gross revenue of the Government from all sources would be verified every month by the joint committee  of Government and Labour.

The agreement read: “That the Government will retain and run all its  affairs with not more than 30% of the verified revenue for the month, while the committee will apply the balance of 70% in the settlement of salaries of public servants and pensioners.

“Negotiations will continue with a view to fully accessing the wage bill of every Ministry, Department and Agency (MDA) and to determine the funding modalities of parastatals within the agreed percentage sharing framework.

“That a comprehensive agreement will be reached by both parties”.

Both parties were also of the opinion that at a quarterly interval, the position in Imo State on the critical areas would be reviewed and compliance ensured and that all revenue subheads for the month would be fully disclosed by the office of the Accountant General to select Committee of Labour.

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It was also agreed that no public servant would be victimised in way as a result of the actions or in-actions leading up to this dispute and these resolutions

The agreement was signed by some government officials, led by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Technical matters, Honourable Emeh Ikenna, and some leaders of the labour unions’ led by the chairman of the NLC in Imo State, Comrade Austin Chilakpu

Before the suspension was reversed, members of the NLC from the 36 states of the federation led by the National President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, had converged on Owerri, the capital of Imo State to hold a protest and force the state to reverse its decision.

The protest was held to express their displeasure over the Concession Policy by the state government and the suspension of some workers.

All activities at the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri and other government offices under the NLC were shutdown to effect the compliance of the protest.

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‘Indolent And Redundant Workers’

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Oyegun, had earlier met with the Governor over the issues raised by the union to seek ways of resolving it.

Addressing reporters at the Government House, Mr Oyegun appealed to labour to cooperate with the Okorocha-led administration, which he said meant well for the people of the state.

He said that after his meeting with the Governor, he was convinced that the actions by the state government were in the overall interest of the state, urging both parties to demonstrate flexibility in their dialogue, considering the new economic realities on ground.

The State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, also told reporters that the protest by labour was uncalled for and politically motivated, as the decision taken by the state government was not for any personal gain but to sanitise the civil service and ensure that the civil service and public service in the state were more productive, efficient and effective.

“The government cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries of indolent and redundant workers putting into consideration the present economic situation in the country,” Governor Okorocha stressed.