Ahead of the November governorship election, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has assured the leadership Labour and Pensioners in the state that the government had started working out the modalities for the payment of gratuities and check-off dues of pensioners.
He also assured them that he had directed the immediate release of promotions of the civil servants who were recently evaluated for elevation after being stagnated for years.
Governor Uzodimma spoke when the leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress and Nigerian Union of Pensioners in Imo State paid a courtesy visit to him at the New Exco Chambers Government House on Tuesday.
Addressing the two bodies, the Governor directed the Head of Service to commence the calculation of arrears of promotions for payment to Imo workers without delay.
Also, he directed the Accountant General to start the payment of check-off dues of pensioners, regretting that what had delayed the payment was because the activities of the pensioners have not been regular.
On the commencement for payment of gratuity the Governor said “there will be new verifications to ascertain when last the gratuities were paid and who and who got what, after which government will commence the payment little by little because government doesn’t have the humongous resources to pay all at the same time.”
He commended the Organized Labour for standing their ground not to be used to fight the government and as such, “saved the government the problem of spending resources in the wrong direction.”
Governor Uzodimma who acknowledged that the Civil Service is the brain box of the government said that “it will be better for the Unions to always work with the government to allow peace, progress and development of the workers and the Civil Service.”
He assured that the government will always be friendly with the Unions.
He reminded the leadership of the pensioners in particular that soon their members will be receiving a special notification indicating that they are still living as pensioners and directed them to liaise with the Office of the Head of Service to fast track the process and come up with the modalities for the payment of the gratuity.
The Governor reminded the leadership of Nigerian Union of Pensioners that those who were not receiving their pensions currently were “fraudulent salary earners, victims of irregular salaries, those involved in padded pensions, double salaries and workers with irregular employment history.”
He, however, said the only condition he could accept to pay them was the current economic realities and hardships in the state and country at large even though the Office of the Head of Service has the right to work out measures that would deter repeat of such acts.
He commended the patriotism of the labour and pensioners’ leadership in the state that had given his government the needed peace to look into labour matters and come out with the best result.
He reminded the audience that the government will soon focus on the education sector now that records are available and also, that his administration would soon “embark on the rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction of all the primary schools in Imo State and even employ young graduate teachers to make our schools what they ought to be.”
Governor Uzodimma enjoined all to join hands together to develop the state as labour, government, and the pensioners could not do it alone.
The governor urged the Head of Service, Raymond Ucheoma, to ensure that the processes to complete the promotion of the workers are done within seven days as the HOS suggested.
Expressing gratitude to the Governor, the Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress, Imo Chapter, Philip Nwansi, promised on behalf of his team and the Labour in Imo State to cooperate with him so that Imo workers will get what is due to them.
He thanked the governor for the numerous largesse he extended to Imo workers which include; appointment of SA on Labour Matters in the person of Austin Chilakpu, release of the arrears of workers’ salaries and check-off dues to pensioners, promotions to Imo workers and appealed to him to help in approving the payment of very few number of workers whose salaries have been withheld for a long time.
Adding his voice, the chairman of Trade Union Congress, Imo State Chapter, Ibe Uche said that their support for the governor and government of Uzodimma had brought a lot of harassment to them from their national body, but noted that he had no regret “because the administration has done a lot to Imo workers and the best the workers can do is to show appreciation and gratitude by supporting him.”
He said he had no problems supporting the calls and endorsement of the government for a second tenure.
Uchenna Nwigwe, the state chairman Civil Service Union thanked the governor for not allowing the workers of Imo State go on strike before being promoted, to get 13th month salary payment, to be given staff bus and for them to get their salaries regularly and also pay pensioners as and when due.He said it was because of the relative peace in Imo that the workers were getting all these “hence they cannot thank the governor enough.”
The Chairman of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, Richard Eze noted that the Local Government Employees were the most beneficiaries of the governor’s infrastructural development in the state and assured of support of NULGE to the 3R government.