Abia: Don’t Blame Us Over The Ongoing Industrial Action, Organised Labour Tells Labour Party

Suleiman Anyalewechi, Aba

The striking Abia State workers have said that they should not be blamed for the continuation of the industrial action, noting that they had offered to call it off but were discouraged.

They spoke against the background of Abia Labour Party, LP, recent appeal to the workers to halt their ongoing strike action to pave way for a seamless inauguration of the incoming Dr Alex Otti’s regime on May 29, 2023.

NewsCritic online reports that Hon Acho Obioma, head of Otti’s campaign council and chairman of the inauguration committee had on Tuesday May 23rd in Umuahia the state capital, while addressing the press on the activities lined up for Otti’s swearing-in ceremony urged striking workers to call off their action.

According to him continuing the strike beyond May 28, would not only hamper the smooth hand over of power to the LP incoming government, but can as well send a wrong signal.

But in a swift reaction to LP’s appeal, a top member of the Joint Action Committee, JAC, of the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, ABSUTH, Aba exonerated the workers from any blame over the ongoing strike. He told NewsCritic online that they had even offered to end the strike action on May 2 to allow the incoming government to take over and settle down. He said however that they were not encouraged to do so.

“The fact of the matter is that towards the end of April, we offered to discontinue with our strike action in deference to the incoming government. We discussed with Dr Abali the Abia state chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA. We agreed for the leadership of Abia NMA to meet with the Gov- elect to let him know about our intention to halt the strike and allow him to take-over. All we demanded from him was a commitment to look into the plights of the workers when he mounts the saddle of leadership. 

“But Dr Abali came back to inform us that the Gov-elect asked them to hold on and allow him to take over first, and study the hand over note from the outgoing government as it concerns the issue of salary arrears. On that note we resolved to continue with the strike. Much as I am not holding brief for other sectors and or the Nigerian Labour Congress NLC as a whole, this is the fact behind the continuation of the strike. Maybe, there is a communication gap between the LP leadership in the state and the Gov-elect over the issue at stake”, the ABSUTH JAC official stated.

However, indications have emerged that the NLC leadership may consider the appeal by the LP and call off the industrial action before the May 29 inauguration date.

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