The leadership of the Imo State Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, Thursday, issued a stern warning that it might be constrained to call out workers again on industrial action if the state government failed to address the myriads of workers’ problems.
JNC Chairman, Comrade Coleman Okwara, read the riot act when he addressed workers at the State Secretariat Complex, Port Harcourt Road, Owerri.
Okwara said: “My dear, your leadership may be forced to call you all out on industrial action if government fails to comprehensively address all the grievances presented to it by labour”.
The labour leader was particularly irked with what he described as the attitude of the state government over the plight of its workforce, adding that workers might be constrained to resume the strike which they suspended recently.
He wondered why government had refused to negotiate with JNC over, among other things, the unsettled workers’ promotion and attendant arrears of cash benefits, which he said took effect from July 2010.
He said: “When the time comes, the state government must pay workers the arrears of their promotion. It is just like the water in the broken calabash which is always there for the puppy.”
Okwara said there was no need for government to turn a deaf ear to workers’ demand for study leave without pay, which Imo workers had been calling for.
He also lamented the prevailing staggered payment of leave allowance instead of the usual bulk payment, stressing that government took that decision and started implementing it without reference to labour.
He added that: “I salute Imo workers for their solidarity with the Council. Be assured that the union leadership will never betray workers in the state. In a short while, you will hear from us on the next line of action”.
Some of the workers, who spoke during the question and answer session, alleged that Imo workers received the least minimum wage in the country.
They equally called on Imo labour leaders to critically look into the issue of 43.5 percent relativity minimum wage paid in other states of the federation.