Governor Hope Uzodimma on friday warned labour leaders in Imo State to jettison their planned strike action, saying that the state government would not hesitate to enforce the ‘no work no pay’ rule, contained in section 43 of Trade Dispute Act.
The Governor gave the worning in his statewide broadcast, saying that the planned strike action was based on falsehood as the govenment had paid worker salaries to date.
“Regrettably, however, while government has paid all validly verified workers their salaries up to date and is making sincere efforts to solve the problem of the few with incomplete personal identification data, some mischievous labour leaders are relentlessly pushing for industrial unrest in the state”, said the Governor.
He added: “The Coronavirus pandemic on its own is generating enough health and social tensions among our people. It calls for sacrifice and rededication to duty from leaders to cushion the devastating socio-psychological impact on the people. No responsible labour leader will want to add to the present social tension and uncertainty, and even panic, which is the present cross of our people, arising from apprehension over COVID-19. Yet some so called labour leaders are calling out workers to strike on a baseless and fallacious claim of non-payment of salaries. Nothing can be more unpatriotic than this crass display of insensitivity in a tension soaked time. It is worse when the action is based on total falsehood, veiled parochial interests and unbridled bigotry”.
He advised the civil servants in the state not to”allow themselves to be used as instruments for the actualisation of the veiled political interests of politicians masquerading themselves as labour leaders”, warning that “salaries will be paid only to those who earn it by working. If any worker decides to join a baseless strike action, he or she should not be in any doubt that there will be no salary at the end of the month. Our policy is simple: NO WORK NO PAY, which is in accord with international labour law provisions, section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act”.
The Governor also spoke on the second wave of the coronavirus which is ravaging the world, warning that the government might be forced to order a total lockdown for the second time.
He expressed dismay that most people in the state were not complying with the COVID-19 safety protocols, warning that anyone caught in violation of the protocols would be arrested and prosecuted.
He said: “Consequently, the government’s Executive Order making it compulsory for all Imo people to wear face masks will henceforth be enforced with unwavering determination. The Imo State COVID-19 Committee headed by Prof. Maurice Iwu, working with the relevant agencies in the Ministry of Health, has been empowered to arrest and prosecute anyone seen in public without face masks. Four mobile courts have been put in place, two in the state capital and one each in Orlu and Okigwe zones, to try offenders. The penalty for not wearing face masks is a maximum jail term of six months or N20,000 in lieu.
“All hotels, eateries, supermarkets and stores are by the Executive order compelled to provide hand sanitizers, wash hand stands test the temperature of their customers and insist on face masks before admitting them into their premises.
“Any store, hotel, eatery or night club that fails to adhere to these rules will be promptly shut down. In addition, the proprietors will be prosecuted”.