Imo to negotiate with workers on payable salary
Okorocha insists on paying retirees 50 percent
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has chosen the path of dialogue with the state wing of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on the payable salary structure for workers in the state employ.
He said In doing so, the state government would consult with its counterparts in the other South East states on the pay structure for their workers to ensure that no Imo worker was either shortchanged or over paid.
He noted that this would put paid to the vexed issue of labour-government agreement of using 70 percent of state accruals to pay workers and 30 percent to run government business, adding that the state had spent over N15 billion on salaries in 2015 before he sanitized the system.
He has also said the request made by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to pay 100 per cent pensions across board to all categories of retirees in the state was unrealistic, insisting that only retirees from levels 0 1 to 06 would receive 100 percent, while levels 07 to 17 would be paid 50 percent.
Okorocha disclosed these while responding to requests made by the state Chairman of the NLC, Austin Chilapku during the May Day celebrations held at the Heroes Square, Owerri.
The governor also rejected requests of offsetting 31-month salary arrears owed workers of the Imo Palm Plantation (formerly Adapalm Oil Company), adding that all state owned agencies and parastatals should generate money to pay its workers.
His words: “We have to agree what is 100 percent. Is it what Anambra, Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi workers are paid? There will be a total new salary structure in Imo. We will make sure no Imo worker gets more than what he should get and ensure that no worker gets below what he should get.
“Pensioners from levels 01 to 06 will get 100 percent while levels 07 to 17 will receive 50 percent. All the Youth Must Work teachers are confirmed. With these, we are going to have a renewed relationship.”
Okorocha regretted that workers wage bill had been over N4 billion, while pensions rose from N352 million before he assumed office to N1.4 billion every month, which has made the state government unable to pay 100 percent.
NLC’s demands include the reinstatement of and payment of salaries of 200 Imo Transport Company (ITC) workers who were illegally sacked more than three years ago; restoration of 100 percent salary payment to workers and recall 170 suspended local council workers.
Others are direct stoppage and recall of non-teaching workers posted to classrooms; payment of two months salaries of Imo Polytechnic workers and desisting from threats and instilling fear on the state workers.
Chilakpu also demanded that judicial workers and lawyers in the state’s employ should be paid their salaries from May to December, 2015 and appealed to the governor to direct the state Accountant General to pay pensioners but not the community officials.