31st May, 2012
Workers in the Nigerian eastern state of Imo have suspended the strike they commenced on Wednesday following the agreement reached with government on the controversial Community Government Council (CGC) initiative of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration.
The strike was also embarked upon to protest against the commercialisation policy of the state government.
The suspension notice is contained in a statement signed and circulated in Owerri on Thursday, by some government and labour officials.
The signatories to the agreement are the Attorney-General of the State, Mr Soronnadi Njoku, and the Chairman, Imo Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, Mr Coleman Okpara.
Others are Mr Evans Uzokwe, Head of Service; Eze Madumere, Chief of Staff, Government House, Mr Reginald Anyadike and Austin Chilapu, NLC State Chairman and Secretary respectively.
The parties agreed that actions on government plan to redeploy some workers to the rural areas in line with the Community Government Council should wait until the governor signed the enabling law.
The statement said that the parties agreed that the commercialisation policy should continue, but should not be tied to the payment of workers’ salaries.
It was also agreed upon that government should provide a guideline for the necessary framework for the implementation of the commercialisation policy.
There was also an agreement that government should set aside a minimum of N100 million monthly for the payment of gratuities of the state government’s retirees and N50 million for their local government counterparts.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the present administration, on inception of duty, cleared all pension arrears owed workers in the state, while some gratuities are still outstanding.
The parties also agreed that workers should fill the forms distributed to them by government and that the exercise should be for the sole purpose capturing of data of workers in the state.
The meeting agreed that no worker should be victimised for his or her role on the issue of redeployment and that organised labour should assist government in fishing out ghost workers in the state.
NAN reports that part of the proposed CGC, also called “fourth tier government”, was massive redeployment of workers to rural areas, where some were expected to work in farms being established by government.
Okorocha had maintained that the initiative would solve the problem of redundancy in the state civil service, transform the rural areas, and improve the economy of the state.