By Nick Chibunna and Ifeoma Ofurum
The Imo government is facing its worst labour crisis in recent times as civil servants, workers in various parastatals and pensioners are determined to fight to a standstill over looming pay-cuts and unpaid salaries and pensions.
More disturbing is the declaration of indefinite strike by the hard-hit doctors in the Imo State university Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH) Orlu, who are being owed more than six months salaries.
The action has compounded the health problems in the state as the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri is currently out of service due to the face off between staff and the Chief Medical Director of the Centre, Dr Mrs Angela Uwakwem. One of the doctors countered the views of the governor who asked IMSUTH to make money and pay themselves, saying that if the hospital is to be a money-making venture, their services would be out of the reach of ordinary people.
Workers at the Imo State House of Assembly Service Commission shunned the verification exercise by the government and rejected their salaries that were slashed by up to 50%.
Speaking to Christian Voice, one of the workers said that the verification team demanded identity cards and others documents but they noticed that the cheques were short of their pay.
Another said ‘we heard it as rumour, but have confirmed and rejected it today. Imagine someone’s salary of N42,000 slashed to N21,000 and some of us took bank loans. Reports said that the accountant sent to pay the workers escaped mob action.
Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) pensioners are crying out and blaming the government, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who, they said, raised their hopes and is again backpedaling on his promises of paying pension to civil pensioners.