The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it would begin protests in Imo State from November 1, citing the alleged violation and abuse of rights and privileges of workers by Governor Hope Uzodimma’s government as the basis.
“This is to demonstrate our outrage and stop the continuing violation of the rights and privileges of workers in the state,” said Joe Ajaero, NLC president.
Mr Ajaero, at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja, said the state government constantly breached agreements despite dialogues.
He said, “NLC was deeply concerned about the persistent and egregious violations of the rights and privileges of workers in Imo State by the state government.”
“Despite our repeated efforts to engage in constructive dialogue and reach amicable agreements, the Imo State government has become a habitual and serial breaker of these agreements, continuing 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 November 1, 2023.”
The NLC president said the protest was imperative as the state government had refused to implement previous agreements.
According to him, the government has repeatedly reneged on agreements, most notably the accord reached on January 9, 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.
Also, he noted that the wanton destruction of the NLC state secretariat was a blatant attack on workers’ rights and a violation of the sanctity of their representative body.
The NLC president said others were unsettled gratuity arrears and non-compliance with the national minimum wage, among others.
“We implore the Imo State government to honour 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.
Mr Ajaero also warned the government of Imo state that the NLC would hold the governor accountable if anything happened 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,” he said.