Imo state in total shutdown; as NLC/TUC reacts.

…workers across the federation to join next week.

The withdrawal of services and shutdown of Imo state have commenced since Tuesday midnight.

This is contained in a communique issued at the end of the Joint National Executive Council meeting of the NLC and TUC, which held on Tuesday, November 7, and signed by the Deputy President, NLC, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju and the TUC counterpart, Comrade Festus Osifo.

According to the communique, all flights into and out of Imo state, fuel supplies and Electricity are stopped immediately as applicable, and all workers and affiliates are expected to ensure compliance from wherever they are.

“All Public and Private Sector workers are to immediately down tools indefinitely” the communique added.

The joint NEC-in-Session also resolved that, workers all over the federation shall join in withdrawing their services by Midnight Tuesday, the 14th of November, 2023, if their demands were yet to be met.

According to the communique, all State Councils of NLC & TUC and affiliates are mandated to ensure full compliance with NEC’s decision.

The NLC and the TUC joint National Executive Council (NEC) had convened to conduct a comprehensive review of the progress made in executing its directive to initiate an industrial action in Imo state, following a series of infractions and encroachments on the rights of workers within the state.

During the meeting, the council deliberated on the distressing incident involving the abduction and assault of the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, the acts of violence and bloodshed inflicted upon him and fellow workers, who had assembled at the NLC Imo State Secretariat in compliance with the directive on Imo state.

“These acts were perpetrated by the Imo state Government, acting under the guidance of the Governor and in collaboration with the Nigeria Police.

“The Joint NEC-in-session unanimously condemned in very strong terms the brutal and beastly actions of Hope Uzodimma, his goons and the Nigeria Police” the communique noted

The joint NLC/TUC NEC-in-session observed that, though the decision to embark on an industrial action in Imo state was purely in keeping with its earlier resolution; the Imo state Government under Hope Uzodimma had continued in its abuse of the rights and privileges of workers in the state in different ways

It said the Government had abused the rights and privileges by, reneging on agreements repeatedly, especially the accord reached on January 9th, 2021, between the Government and Organised Labour; Outstanding salary arrears where some workers were still being owed 20 months salaries under the unfounded label of ‘ghost workers’; as well as the unjust declaration of workers as Ghost Workers, with about 11,000 hardworking individuals unjustly branded as ghost workers, with their salaries diverted even while they diligently carried out their duties.

Other areas were the vandalisation of NLC State Secretariat, which the Council described as “a blatant attack on the rights of workers and a violation of the sanctity of their representative body; Implementation of Discriminatory Pay and imposition of apartheid-like policies in determining monthly payments; the failure of government to address the 8-year backlog of gratuity owed to retirees, Non implementation of the N30,000 National Minimum Wage; as well as the Intimidation and Harassment of Trade Union Leaders.

“The Government’s witch hunt against trade union leaders through various guises constitutes an alarming assault on the right to represent and advocate for the rights of workers” the communique stated.

The Council also deliberated on the Government’s use of Violence and Thuggery against workers and their leaders; Misappropriation of Union Dues; Declaration of about 10,000 Pensioners as Ghosts resulting in over 22 months of unpaid pensions; Resistance to Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining: Systematic Harassment and Intimidation of Workforce that has created an environment of fear and uncertainty, as well as Interference with Workers’ Democratic Processes and the disruption of the Imo State Delegates’ Conference

“Workers had gathered to peacefully protest these infractions by the Governor at the Secretariat of the NLC in Imo state as guaranteed by our extant labour laws and the Constitution;

“The Police supported a group of Imo state Governor’s thugs led by its SA on Special Duties invaded the premises of the Imo NLC Secretariat and unleashed mayhem on the few workers who had gathered inflicting injuries and stealing and damaging personal effects including various sums;

“The President of the NLC was subsequently subjected to brutalization, blindfolded and abducted by the Police and taken to an unknown destination where he was further subjected to further violations and humiliation” the communique added.

The NEC in session stated that the NLC and TUC have made demands on the Government which were yet to be met as at the time of the session, stressing that the continued use of violence and impunity in negotiating rights and interests within the nation’s socioeconomic space was against all known dictates of democracy and Social Dialogue.

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