The Bayelsa State House of Assembly has waded into the stand-off between workers and management of Radio Bayelsa, known popularly as Glory FM.
Mr John Angese, Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of the NUJ, who is also a staff of Glory FM, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Yenagoa that the state’s house of assembly had summoned the feuding parties.
Angese said that the House of Assembly Committee on Information, Chaired by Mr Salo Adikume, had received a petition on the alleged flogging of four workers of Glory FM by the general manager of the station.
“The crisis at Radio Bayelsa has reached its peak. I have been threatened with sack for no justifiable reason just because I stood in defence of workers’ rights.
“I understand efforts have reached advanced stage to stop my salary.
“The house has intervened and urged workers and management to sheath their swords and await the outcome of the intervention of the house.
“So we are all awaiting their verdict, the committee has listened to both sides,” Angese said.
The labour dispute took a turn for the worse on Feb. 22 when the General Manager of Glory FM, Mr John Idumange, allegedly flogged four union leaders.
The dispute has led to intermittent disruptions of programmes by workers of the station.
Mr Tonye Yeimoleigha, the Radio Bayelsa Chapel Chairman of the NUJ, told NAN that the unions were not against reforms but argued that such reforms must be carried out in line with civil service rules.
The unions had alleged that Idumange was running the station outside public service rules, whileIdumange insist that he was doing the bidding of the Bayelsa Government that wanted him to re-position and reform the station.
Efforts made earlier by the Chief of Staff to Gov. Seriake Dickson, Mr Talford Ongolo, to broker peace at the radio station yielded no fruit.
However, Idumange while reacting to the crisis and the allegation leveled against him said that he did no wrong.
He argued that the unions were being used to sabotage his efforts at re-positioning the station which, he said, was in deplorable state before his appointment.
Idumange claimed that he uncovered a N5.7 million fraud recently and had to redeploy some workers.
“The transferred workers have been meeting with the unions at the NUJ Centre. They benefited from the corruption and are fighting back.”
The general manager told NAN that there was no going back on his reform efforts, noting that he had received the backing of the supervising Bayelsa State Ministry of Information and the State Government.
“This small radio station has 346 workers. Employment and job placements have never followed due process, we are currently re-organising the place and they are resisting our efforts.
“Those ghost workers must be fished out and the payroll cleaned up.
“The wage bill of the station is N35 million monthly and it is not sustainable.
“The unions are being instigated by the heads of departments affected in the illegal recruitment and those who came in through the back door,’’ he said. (NAN)