The organised labour in the state had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the state government ahead of an imminent strike over the unpaid arrears of workers’ salaries and allowances in the state.
The Abia State Chairman of Labour Congress (NLC), Uchenna Obigwe issued The ultimatum in a statement jointly issued in Umuahia on Friday by the NLC, Joint Negotiating Council and Trade Union Congress.
The group said that the ultimatum was a prelude to an impending strike.
It warned that labour should not be held responsible “for any breach of industrial peace and harmony in the state,” should government fail to address their concerns at the expiration of the ultimatum.
“A labourer deserves his wages,” it stated, adding that the organised labour was not satisfied with the “sectoral pattern of payment of workers’ salaries in the state since the inception of the present administration.”
It also stated that this unwholesome development “has placed an average worker in the state in a beggarly position economically.”
According to the group, primary school teachers were owed three months, while secondary school teachers were last paid in October 2018.
Others include Hospital Management Board (11 months); Abia State Universal Basic Education Board (four months); Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba (13 months) and Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, last paid in April 2018, plus partial payment in May, the same year.
The organised labour said that while the senior staff of the College of Health Science, Aba, were owed nine months, their junior counterparts were owed eight months.
Also, Abia College of Education (Technical), Arochukwu were owed 18 months, Abia State University, Uturu (four months); local government workers last paid in March, plus half salary in October 2018.
The rest were State Education Management Board (SEMB) (eight months); Agricultural Development Programme (14 months), Ministries of Agriculture and Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, one month, respectively.
Labour also said that some agencies of government, including the state Library Board, secondary school teachers, SEMB and Abia Council for Arts and Culture were owed arrears of the N18,000 minimum wage, ranging from 10 to 14 months.
It regretted that while the 2017 leave allowances were partially paid, the 2018 and 2019 allowances had yet to be paid.