He Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) has said it will start protests in Imo State from November 1 over the alleged violation and abuse of workers’ rights and privileges by the state government.
This was stated by the Chairman of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, at a press conference on Sunday in Abuja.
Ajaero 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 violator of these agreements, and continues to trample on the rights of workers in the state.
“As a result, we have no choice but to embark on mass protests and industrial action from November 1, 2023.
“This is to demonstrate our outrage and stop the continued violation of workers’ rights and privileges in the state,” he said.
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 breached agreements, particularly the agreement reached on January 9, 2021 between the state government and the unions.
“Surprisingly, due to wage arrears, some workers have been subjected to a staggering 20 months of unpaid wages under the baseless label of ‘ghost workers’.
“Unfair declaration of workers as ghost workers, approximately 11,000 workers have been unfairly branded as ghost workers, their salaries have been diverted even as they diligently performed their duties,” he said.
Vandalization of the NLC state secretariat
On the vandalism of the NLC state secretariat, he noted that the wanton destruction of the secretariat was a blatant attack on the rights of workers and a violation of the sanctity of their representative body.
The NLC president said other problems were the implementation of discriminatory wages, arrears of unpaid gratuities and non-compliance with the national minimum wage.
“The Nigerian Labor Congress calls on all stakeholders, including civil society organisations, to stand in solidarity with the workers of Imo State in the face of these egregious violations.
“We implore the Imo State Government to live up to its obligations and recommit itself to respecting the rights and privileges of workers.
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“As long as you refuse, we will continue with this course of action until we see the desired change. “We are ready for labor peace in the state but the election is entirely in the hands of the Imo State government,” he stated.
He alleged that the government was confident in its powers to deploy the fierce and coercive forces of the State against the unions.
Ajaero warned the Imo State government that the NLC would hold the governor responsible if anything happened to any worker or union leader in the course of the legal protests.
“All the threats we have received of violence against our people are noted, but we will not stop.
“On November 1, we started this march to save the workers of Imo State from the serious harm that the government has subjected them to in recent years,” he said.