Deliberate and calculated plan by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress under Joe Ajaero to call workers in Imo State out for a show down with the government over flimsy excuses was on Thursday rebuffed as the workers told him that they have no axe to grind with the government.
However, the Imo workers had a word of advice for Ajaero and his colleagues who are fanning the ember of unrest and discontent in the state, urging them to choose the path of peaceful resolution of issues where they think one exists.
The Trade Union Congress, especially wrote to Governor Hope Uzodimma on Thursday expressing shock over the said call for strike and reminded the Governor that their workers have been told to be at their duty posts and to ensure they carry out their official duties accordingly and diligently.
In dissociating themselves from the industrial action called by the Joe Ajaero – led NLC, effective midnight of Wednesday, March 8, 2023, the Imo State Council of the body declared that it has no justifiable reasons to call its members out for strike “as labour in the State has no outstanding issues with the State Government.”
Briefing newsmen in Owerri on Thursday, the Chairman of NLC, Imo State Council, Phillip Nwansi said, “the call for strike in Imo State is embarrassing, unnecessary, uncalled for and most importantly, surprising as the State Government is neither owing nor having any outstanding issues with workers welfare to elicit the call for strike.”
Supported by the Secretary of the State’s Congress, Uche Chigaemezu, Nwansi noted that the only issue at hand in Imo NLC was “an internal problem of postponed Delegate Conference election and a resultant purported Caretaker Committee which is allen to the Congress and the Constitution.”
Nwansi informed that they got approval for their delegate State Conference elections to hold on March 7, 2023, but for reasons best known to the Screening Committee they were unable to publish the list of qualified and disqualified contestants which created confusion and uproar on the day of the election “as all were gathered for the election but to no avail.
“This resulted to the postponement of the election to a later date following the directive from the National body to do so,” he said.
He further added that when the delegates had dispersed as the election could not hold as planned they were surprised to “hear of the establishment of a Caretaker Committee of the body made up of contestants on the other of the divide,” and which excluded his own group.
“Worse still, a Caretaker Committee for NLC is unconstitutional and alien to NLC.”
Nwansi said that “the right thing to do would have been to allow the (existing) leadership to remain,” since according to him “their tenure of four years is supposed to come to an end on 19th and 20th of April, 2023.”
He therefore appealed to the national body of NLC to come to Imo State and ensure peaceful reconciliation of both sides that may have disagreed over certain issues on the election and possibly schedule a new date for the elections to hold rather than hitting up the polity unnecessarily.
Adding his voice, Chigaemezu who was the Chairman of the Delegate Planning Committee and Secretary of NLC in the State said Imo NLC did not call for any strike in the state.
“There was no fighting at the end of the failed delegate conference and the Caretaker Committee is neither here nor there as it is nowhere in our Constitution.”
The leadership of the Trade Union Congress, Imo State Chapter also expressed shock over the call for strike, and accordingly dissociate itself and its members from such.
A letter by the Chairman and Secretary of the TUC, Imo State Council, Uchenna Ibe and Chijioke Ezekwe respectively wrote to Governor Uzodimma on Thursday, March 9, 2023, said: “We are constrained to inform you through this letter that the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Imo State Council has no idea of any impasse between the state government and the NLC that necessitated industrial action being embarked on by her members.
“All affiliates with their workers under the umbrella of Trade Union Congress, Imo State Council, have been directed to report to their duty posts and ensure that they diligently carry out their official duties accordingly.”
In a separate chat, however with the media, Ibe expressed embarrassment and surprise over the call for strike against the state government by the Joe Ajaero-led NLC and completely disassociated TUC from the said strike.
Ibe described the so-called call for strike as “unwarranted and unnecessary as labour in the state has no iota of issues with the government to warrant such.”
He also described the issues in Imo State NLC as internal and appealed to those beating the drum of war to “soft peddle and help to resolve the problem amicably to the overall interest of the entire workforce in the Imo State.”