Umuahia - The Chairman of the Public Service Negotiating Council, Abia chapter, Chris Okoro, said on Thursday that the state did not have ghost workers in its civil service.
Reacting to the government’s assertion that the state had ghost workers on its payroll, Okoro revealed in Umuahia that the claim could not be substantiated, given that the previous administration placed embargo on employment for eight years.
"I cannot agree that there are ghost workers in Abia because for more than eight years, there has not been any employment.
"If there was any replacement for retired workers or as a result of death or transfers, the governor must give a waiver; nobody was employed without a waiver," Okoro said.
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He wondered how the government could be talking about ghost workers whereas it placed embargo on employment.
Okoro said that ghost workers could only be made possible during recruitments.
He said that ministries, departments and agencies of the government had specific workforce and wage bills which were regularly subjected to internal audit.
Okoro said that the issue of ghost workers came up during the staff verification initiated by the last administration.
He said that at the end of the verification, some pensioners were wrongly blacklisted while their pensions were stopped till date.
Okoro said that the organised labour in the state was still working hard to correct the anomaly in addition to the issues of unpaid arrears of salaries and allowances of workers.
He further said that workers in the state were still owed 18 months arrears of the minimum wage.
Okoro said that the organised labour in the state was anxious to meet Governor Okezie Ikpeazu "so that we will sit down with him to address these issues affecting workers in the state".
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for providing a bailout to the governors to enable them to pay workers, he urged the governors to prioritise the payment of salaries, warning that labour would take a more drastic action than strike to demand its rights.