The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, and other affiliate Unions in Ebonyi State, on Monday, tasked the outgoing governor, David Umahi to liaise with the incoming administration led by the governor-elect, Francis Nwifuru to employ teachers and doctors in schools and hospitals.
The Unions made this known in a joint address presented to Umahi at the Pa Ngele Oruta township stadium during the Workers’ Day celebration in Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi state.
DAILY POST reports that the stadium was almost empty as workers seemingly shunned the Mayday celebration, resulting from an alleged failure of the government to meet-up with the workers’ welfare and payment of gratuity.
The state chairmen of NLC and TUC in Ebonyi state, Prof. Oguguo Egwu and Mr. Igboji Chidi, respectively, tasked the government to engage more teachers in public primary and secondary schools to enhance quality of life and education of children in the state.
According to them: “We believe that the engagement of more qualified teachers in our primary and post-primary schools will enhance quality of life and education. There should be engagement of more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in the state.”
The unions further called on the state government to renovate the infrastructural facilities located in the various secondary healthcare centres in the state.
“Enhancing the welfare packages of the workers in the state will reduce the biting pressure in governance and show sincere concerns to all the competing demands of the people in the state,” he stated.
The workers also tasked Governor Umahi to liaise with the Governor-elect, Francis Nwifuru, to design a take-home package (living wage) that will be unique to Ebonyi and better than what was obtainable elsewhere in the country.
“We need a harmonized and enhanced pension and gratuity management scheme in the state. There should be provision of utility vehicles for the two labour Centres (NLC and TUC) and joint negotiating council and affiliate Unions in the state,” the group demanded.
In a swift reaction, Governor Umahi, who was represented by his deputy, Eric Kelechi Igwe, insisted that his administration never owed workers their salaries.
“We are not owing our workers salaries. We shall be paying off the balance of pension which stands today at about ₦480,000,000.00. Good to note that no pension is owed in all our Local Government Areas.
“In the areas of gratuity, the balance for the state is said to be about ₦4,200,000,000.00. My government shall be paying off 25% of this balance in the month of May and the next government shall pay off the balance when we get our stamp-duty refund.
“For LGAs, the actual figure is being worked out,” he stated.