FIC Report (Abia State) – Following resolutions reached by the Abia State Government and affiliate Unions, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Abia State Chapter suspended it’s three day old industrial action.
Recall that the NLC, on Tuesday, served a notice of intention to stage what it described as the “Mother Of All Strikes” in Abia State over the alleged government’s refusal to offset arrears of workers’ salaries and pension retirement benefits.
The suspension came, after a meeting in Umuahia between the National Leadership of the NLC, various Trade Unions in Abia State and Representative of the State Government.
Both parties had earlier engaged in extensive close door meeting at the Office of the SSG,which lasted up to two hours where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on behalf of the State Government by the duo of the SSG,Barr. Chris Ezem and the Head of Service, Sir Onyii Wamah.
Others were Assistant Secretary General, NLC, Comrade Chris Onyeka, the NLC Chairman,Abia State Chapter, Comrade Eze Idima as well as the Representative of the Joint Public Negotiating Council,Comrade I.N Ekwenye on behalf of the NLC.
Addressing Newsmen at the end of the meeting, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Chis Ezem assured of the state governments live up to expectation by implementing the decisions reached by both parties.
He said,“Abia State remains a Workers friendly government that is conscious of its obligations. It is to that end that we have taken steps to engage the NLC and all affiliate Unions concerned on issues affecting Workers.
“I want to assure the Workers in Abia State and the leadership of various unions that government takes their welfare seriously and to that extent government will equally take agreements reached very serious.
“Following this agreement, we shall ensure that it is not business as usual.
We shall do everything within our means to ensure these agreements reached are adhered to”.
Ezem, therefore advised workers not to allow anybody pitch them against government but continue to give their best in service to the state.
Also speaking,the Assistant Secretary General, NLC, Comrade Chris Onyeka prayed the state government to implement the agreement reached by both parties and pleaded for better working conditions for workers to ensure greater productivity to make the state progressive.
Describing dialogue as a way of resolving issues and conflict,Comrade Onyeka assured that Abia workers are committed to ensuring that they remain more productive and contribute to the development of Abia State.
The NLC Assistant Secretary General while noting that it is the responsibility of the Union’s leadership to protect the interest of Workers in the state, thanked the Abia state government for showing “great responsibility and understanding”in finding lasting solutions towards addressing issues raised by the NLC.
“With this understanding and agreement reached, the NLC would immediately suspend the strike action. We extend our hands of fellowship to Abia State for better and deeper industrial relationship and harmony”, he said.
In an interview with Journalists, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy,Barr. Eze Chikamnayo commended the leadership of NLC at the state and national level for seeing reasons with the state government in why the 3 day old industrial action should be called off.
He assured that the Ikpeazu administration is “irrevocably committed to the welfare of Abia workers and would continue to do the needful at all times regardless of the very serious economic setbacks and fluctuations in other forms of revenue the have become the norm in Nigeria”.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has given his undertaken to continue to prudently and meticulously manage the resources of Abia state which he has done so well in the last seven years plus and will advance the causes of Abia workers and the citizens as a whole”, Chikamnayo concluded. In a related development, the EEDC saidthe reason behind the prolonged power outage is subject to the position of NLC over the accumulated salaries, wages and pension owed their members in the State.
Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) is a member of organized Labour Union in Nigeria. The situation however, is that EEDC and APLE Ltd (Geometrics) as private entities source their power from the GENCOs but with coordination from TCN. TCN as a Member of the organized Labour Union had to shut down in solidarity with this cause and in this case EEDC and APLE Ltd (Geometrics) operations had to be affected.
Subject to loads of complaints from this stable, I had to reach out to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) as well as Senior officials of NLC in the State. You can be rest assured that a meeting has been held and agreement reached as it affects resolution of the matter in perspective. It is not in my position to disclose the outcome at the moment but be sure to have it in due course.
Meanwhile, your patience while this impasse lasted is deeply appreciated and not taken for granted.
Present at the meeting include, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Aham Uko and Members of the various affiliate Unions of the NLC.