*There’s no ghost worker in Imo LGs—NLC
Hundreds of angry local government workers in Imo State Monday stormed the state headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Owerri to protest against what they called their unlawful sack by the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
The sack of the local government workers by the state government followed an unsuccessful move to sack about 3000 civil servants in the state last year after they were deemed to be redundant.
The workers, who carried placards with various inscriptions matched to the office of the NLC on Edede Street from where they marched to the office of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) at the state secretariat.
Presenting their grievances to the state chairmen of the NLC and Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, the chairman of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Oru East who was also affected by the sack policy, Comrade Ngozichukwu Chikwendu, said they received the suspension letters on January 15, 2017 but had been waiting for the state NULGE chairman, Mr. Ucheghara Ndubuisi and his executive council to act on their behalf but to no avail.
He added that they decided to take their protest to the NLC which is their father union to assist them address the situation having been abandoned by NULGE, adding that they embarked on the demonstration to show they were not ghost workers as they were being portrayed.
He called on the NLC boss to assist them address the matter because, they had been denied of salaries since January.
Reacting, the state chairman of the NLC, Comrade Austin Chilakpu, thanked them for being mature enough in their peaceful protest.
Chilakpu disclosed that he and the leadership of the organized Labour had met with the governor over the issue and that the governor agreed to set up a committee to look into the matter and that he was surprised that the committee was about to commence work only for the Local Government Service Commission to begin to issue the worker with suspension letters.
He insisted that there are no ghost workers in Imo local government areas, because, “if the government termed this number of workers here as ghost workers because their attendance to duty was not up to 60 percent in 2016, he should remember that he gave waiver for the workers to come to work only three times in a week and for them to use two days for farming activities”.
The NLC boss described the state government’s action as alien to public service rules, insisting that there are laid down rules on how to sack workers, even as he urged the victims to go about their normal duties as the Organised Labour would continue to work for their welfare.
Also speaking, the state chairman of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, Comrade Alloy Iwuanyanwu disclose that his finding was that the purported sack was an act of victimization.
According to him, information available to him showed that the suspended workers were among the people who were to be paid double salaries per month last year but in their sincerity, they returned the cheques because they had been paid before.
“It was these cheques that the handlers of these verification took to the ministry and claimed that the cheques were returned because the owners were ghost workers. But we will not allow this injustice to stand because they are being punished for their sincerity”, he said.