Abia Workers Return to Work Ahead Otti’s Inauguration

Abia State workers have returned to work 19 days after they abandoned their duty posts following unresolved welfare issues with the outgoing government of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. 
The leadership of the Abia State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called off the strike at the weekend apparently to welcome the incoming new government with friendly gesture.

Abia workers started staying away from their work places since May 9, 2023 in protest against Abia State Government for non payment of salaries, non payment of pension arrears and gratuity and check-off dues to industrial unions.

The end of the industrial action was announced in a statement signed by the Abia Chairman of NLC, Comrade Pascal Nweke and Secretary, Comrade Emma Alozie after an emergency meeting of the State Executive Council(SEC) on Saturday.

The cheering news came less than 48 hours to the inauguration of a new government of the opposition Labour Party with Mr. Alex Otti as the incoming governor.

“As a law-abiding organization and in recognition of the efforts of well-meaning Abians and in consultation with the  national headquarters of Congress, SEC-in-Session resolved to suspend the strike action embarked upon on 9th May, 2023.

“Consequently, all Abia workers are directed to resume all services hitherto withdrawn with immediate effect,” the statement read.

Abia workers had on May 9, 2023 resumed their industrial action which was suspended in February after five days of staying away from their duty posts.

However, the expected resolution of the workers grievances did not materialise as  the outgoing government of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu could not meet the workers’ demands.

As the strike dragged on, there were concerns that the incoming administration which would be welcomed with an industrial action which was sparked by the action of the outgoing government.

But after a delegation of Abia labour leaders visited the governor-elect, Mr. Alex Otti on Friday signs appeared indicating that the strike would end before the inauguration of the new government.

The labour leaders led by the Abia NLC chairman had after discussions with Otti told him that they would consult the national leadership of NLC and get back to him.

During the meeting with the labour leaders, Otti reiterated his campaign promise to prioritise the issue of salary payments as well as ensure that the arrears are cleared within the shortest time frame.