According to the NLC, the state government owed three months salaries to local government employees, 23 months’ salary arrears to members of staff of ABSUT, 13 months to HMB, 11 months to secondary school teachers, three months to primary school teachers, 30 months to Abia Polytechnic workers, 29 months to Abia College of Education workers, five months to Abia College of Health Sciences and 30 months pension benefits.
The NLC in a letter to Ikpeazu, signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba on Friday, vowed to deploy the full powers of trade unionism and Nigerian workers against the Abia government if it refuses to pay the salaries and pensions owed to workers and pensioners in the State.
The labour union however, urged the governor to, without further delay, offset the huge unpaid salaries, allowances and other entitlements owed workers and pensioners in the state in the interest of industrial peace.
The letter reads in part, “The attention of the Nigeria Labour Congress has been drawn to media statements attributed to the government of Abia State demanding an apology for reports that the State is indebted to workers and pensioners on arrears of salaries and pension benefits.
“The statement also stated that the Abia State Government posited that the state is up to date in terms of its wage and pension obligations to workers and senior citizens in the state.
“While the Nigeria Labour Congress would not want to join issues with the Abia State Government on its claims, we wish to counsel that facts are sacred, especially where the records of wage administration in Abia State is conspicuous in the public domain.
The Union in the letter also raised the alarm that Abia State is becoming one of Nigeria’s most worker-unfriendly sub-national governments.
The letter added, “It is on record that the Abia State Government owes workers and pensioners in the following establishments: Local Government employees – 3 months’ salaries; staff of ABSUTH – 23 months’ salary arrears. HMB – 13 months’ salary arrears; Secondary School Teachers – 11 months of salaries; Primary School Teachers – 3 months’ salary.
“Pensioners in Abia State – 30 months’ pension benefits (Pensioners in the Judiciary sector are owed monthly pension benefits from February 2021 to date)Workers in Abia State Polytechnic – 30 months’ salary arrears; Workers in Abia State College of Education – 29 months’ salary; Workers in Abia State College of Health Sciences – 5 months.
“Furthermore, the approved CONHESS is yet to be implemented in Abia State since May 2021 till date. It is on record that the NBTE withdrew the accreditation of the Abia State Polytechnic recently. The list of infractions against workers in Abia State goes on and on.
“We use this medium to call on the Abia State Government to invest the resources of the state in settling the huge arrears of unpaid salaries, allowances and other entitlements owed workers and pensioners in the state rather than pursuing shadows and silhouettes in both public and private media within and outside the state.
“In the event that the Abia State Government continues to play the Ostrich with the lives of workers and pensioners, the Nigeria Labour Congress will be left with no option than to deploy the full weight of the power of trade unions and workers in the country.
“While we await your swift action on the issues raised in this letter and earlier ones, please accept our very warm regards.”