NLC President Ajaero to ground Imo with strike 10 days to gov. election
NLC President Joe Ajaero
Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun
The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Joe Ajaero has revealed plans to ground activities in Imo ten days to the 11 November governorship election over what he described as egregious violations of the rights and privileges of workers by the te Government.
Ajaero said the strike will begin on 1 November, 10 days to the election in the Governor Hope Uzodimma will be seeking a second term of office.
Some analysts and the state government have accused the Ajaero led NLC of embarking on the strike for political purposes ahead of the election.
But Ajaero told journalists on Sunday in Abuja that he is not bothered by such insinuations and that there was nothing wrong in using strike for political purposes.
Ajaero also warned the government of Imo state that the NLC would hold the Governor accountable if anything happens to any worker or trade union leader in the course of the lawful protests.
“All the threats we have received of violence against our persons are noted but we will not be deterred.
“On the 1 day of November, we begin this march to save workers of Imo state from the grievous harm the government has subjected them to these past years, ”he said
Rather, he said, repeated efforts to engage in constructive dialogue and reach amicable agreements with the Imo State Government have not yielded any fruit.
He said Uzodimma has become a habitual and serial breaker of agreements reached and has continued to trample on the rights of workers in the state.
“As a result, we are left with no choice but to embark on mass protests and industrial actions beginning on the 1st day of November, 2023.
“This is to demonstrate our outrage and stop the continuing violation of the rights and privileges of workers in the state,”he said.
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The NLC president said the protest was imperative as the government of the state had refused to implement previous agreements.
According to him, the government has repeatedly reneged on agreements, most notably the accord reached on January 9th, 2021, between the Government and Organised Labour.
“On outstanding salary arrears, shockingly, some workers have been subjected to a staggering 20 months of unpaid salaries under the unfounded label of ‘ghost workers’.
“Unjust declaration of workers as ghost workers,. Approximately 11,000 hardworking individuals have been unjustly branded as ghost workers, their salaries diverted even while they diligently carried out their duties,”he said.
On vandalisation of NLC State Secretariat, he noted that the wanton destruction of the NLC State Secretariat was a blatant attacked on the rights of workers and a violation of the sanctity of their representative body.
The NLC president said others were implementation of discriminatory pay introduction of discriminatory pay, unsettled gratuity arrears, non-compliance with National Minimum Wage, among others.
“Nigeria Labour Congress calls on all stakeholders, including civil society organizations, to stand in solidarity with the workers of Imo State in the face of these egregious violations.
“We implore the Imo State Government to honor its obligations and recommit to respecting the rights and privileges of workers.
“As long as it refuses, we will continue in this course of action until we see the desired change. We are ready for industrial peace in the state but the choice is entirely in the hands of the government of Imo state,” he said.
He also alleged that unfortunately, the government had relied on its powers to deploy the fierce and coercive forces of the state against trade unions.