Contract staff of Imo State owned radio and TV station, Imo Broadcasting Corporation Owerri IBC, are furious that the management is still owing them more than six months salaries which includes a dud cheque of July to November 2015.The staff who received the salary cheques last year when Dr. Vitalis Orikaeze Ajumbe was heading the Management Board of the Corporation, said the cheque failed to clear, even when those that were issued to fulltime staff of the Corporation has long been spent.According to one of them, they are coming to believe that both the management of the cooperation and government are playing tricks on them because since 2015 till date, no one has done any tangible thing to see that the cheques are cleared.“It has been one promise to another”, the staff said. “Most of us are now mute, because when we try to speak, they tell us we might lose our chances of becoming fulltime staff in future and because of that most of us can no longer speak even when we are being owed up to six months salary” he continued.
It was also gathered that during the time of Dr. Ajumbe, the same staff were all sacked and after a fresh interview some of them were reengaged, with that fresh appointment taking effect from December 1, 2015.
We also learned learnt that some people who refused to go with the terms of service being offered by the Dr. Ajumbe led Management Board were sacked, while the rest who continued till 2016, were also sacked on February 15, 2016 by the directives of the state governments without January and February salaries.
Although about 50% of the sacked contract staff have been recalled in April 2016, they are yet to receive the January and February 2016 salaries for which they worked. We also learnt that the workers are yet to receive either April or May 2016 salaries, leaving them with nothing since 2016.
In another development, the management and Staff Union of the Corporation have frowned at the activities of a group of the contract staff who are fighting for the Corporation to pay them the six months salaries [July – November 2015 and January – February 2016], saying that the group has no right to fight, since the contract staff don’t have a recognized association registered with the labour union.
The group however argued that the Corporation’s labour union are being selfish and inhumane since they are still the same people who locked the Corporation’s gate for being owed four months salaries.
“They are being inhumane, we heard they want to go strike because they are being owed, but they would never go to the press because of us. That is pure selfishness and we will do everything possible to get our money irrespective of who will be implicated. We will say everything we know and release every document we have including copies of the cheque to appropriate authorities.
They have used their promises to some of us to cripple our plans to fight as one. And you would just be wondering why someone being owed eight months salary will still be afraid of asking for their money. They go to work every day and still receive queries for wrong doings. This is simply slavery and intimidation.
We call on the governor to act on this because sooner or later, someone will report the issue of the dud cheques to anti-graft commissions in the country”, a member of the group said.