By Government House, Awka
The State Government has resolved to apply the rule of no work no pay in the on-going strike action in the State. Governor Peter Obi who announced this during a stakeholders meeting on the indefinite strike by workers at the Women Development Centre Awka, said while the government had not strictly applied the law in the past it would no longer be the case.
Governor Obi said government had equally resolved that all workers employed from 2003 would be relieved of their employment, including the 3000 workers recently employed (1200 teacher, regulkar and ICT, 1000 employed by ASUBEB, among others) and immediate embargo on the planned employment of 1000 civil servants) while there should be immediate review of the employment of all non-indigenes in the Civil Service of the State.
Debunking the allegation that the State receives over 7 Billion naira monthly, the Governor said that July allocation was up to that because of 6 months arrears of excess crude oil, otherwise, he said, it was an average of 3 Billion per month.
He stated that henceforth, promotions, including into the positions of Directors and Permanent Secretaries shall be strictly through examination while the liquidation process shall be allowed to take full course on Ndiolu Micro Finance Bank and Government payment of premium on life assurances by workers wouldl be suspended.
The Governor equally announced that the State will immediately commence a detailed biometric audit of workers from October for all categories of workers, including the judiciary while there shall be no more automatic deduction of dues from workers salaries for organizations and associations.
He said government would inaugurate a board for the reform of the Civil Service and take other steps deemed necessary in due course to strengthen and modify the civil service.
Governor Obi said that the on-going strike by Medical Doctors which had lasted for over seven months had remained a source of concern to government which had agreed to pay 50% of their offer. He said that while government continued to appeal to the striking doctors to place the collective interest of the State first and return to work, that if by the end of the month they did not return to work, the government would have no alternative but to assume that they had abandoned their duties and were no longer in the State employ.
The Governor made it clear that the on-going labour crisis was externally manipulated by those who did not wish the state well as the state was one of the few States that commenced the implementation of new minimum wage in August in line with Minimum Wage Act.
He explained that implementation of the new minimum wage had increased the State’s Wage bill by over five hundred million naira which he said translated to over seventy percent spending of the State’s revenue on recurrent expenditure which he noted is above the stipulated thirty percent and seventy percent ratio for recurrent and capital expenditure respectfully, warning that it was a threat to the future of the State.
He explained that in line with the agreement between labour and the Governor’s Forum, Anambra State Government commenced the implementation of the law in August in keeping with the promise but expressed shock that after collecting the salary and despite agreement between the government and the State Labour Congress in their last meeting brokered by the Elders that no strike would be embarked upon while a peaceful solution was sought for any outstanding issue, the organized Labour went ahead to declare and embark on an indefinite strike action.
Traditional rulers, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Mrs Ukpabi Asika, Chairman of CAN, Bishop Ephraim Ndife in Anambra State, Sen Ben Obi, elders and town union Presidents, among others people present at the meeting condemned the cavalier manner Anambra workers went on strike but promised to a seek solution to the crisis in a fatherly manner.