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May Day was celebrated yesterday across the country, and it gave workers another opportunity to let out their displeasure over the ways their state governments handle their welfare.

The Imo State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Austin Chilakpu, expressed sadness over the 56 months salary arrears owed workers of Adapalm, an oil milling and palm plantation outfit owned by the state government.

Chilakpu also appealed to Governor Rochas Okorocha, to ensure that the workers are paid without further delay.

He also lamented the untold hardship the workers have been subjected to, and also urged the state government to pay retirees their gratuities and pensions. He alleged that some retirees were being owed pensions up to 58 months, while some ex-workers were yet to receive their gratuities since 1999.

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Other state-owned establishments owing their workers include Imo State Action Committee on Control of AIDS with 27 months of no pay, the Bureau of Due Process (10 months); and Judiciary (3 months).

Abia State NLC Chairman, Comrade Uchenna Obigwe and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Comrade Sunny Onwuka, in separate addresses, spoke on the welfare of the workers at the rally held at Ibeku High School, Umuahia.

Obigwe said workers of the State University Teaching Hospital were being owed 12 months salaries; those of the Hospital Management Board, 9 months; secondary school teachers, 10 months; Abia Polytechnic, 13 months; College of Education, Arochukwu 15 months; Universal Basic Education Board, six months; local governments, two and half months; College of Health and Management Sciences, 13 months; and pensioners 19 – 25 months.

According to him, labour will henceforth ensure that salaries and pensions are paid as at when due. He said the workers were optimistic that the government would implement the N30,000.00 minimum wage without delay.

This also went on in Kogi state, Ekiti, Kaduna and Bornu as they all demanded the immediate payment of their workers, as well as payment of gratuities and pension of the retired workers, lamenting that many of them, including retired permanent secretaries and judicial staff have suffered for years.

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