Tension as state government sacks 222 workers in media outfit, citing overstaffing, employment fraud

There was apprehension on Tuesday in the Bayelsa state civil service following the commencement of reforms with over 222 workers of the state owned media outfits, the State Broadcasting Corporation and the Newspaper Corporation, publishers of the New Waves.

According to the list released by the office of the Head of Service, Rev.Thomas Zidabamo, 86 workers from the New Waves newspaper and 136 workers from the Radio Bayelsa were affected with the state government citing over staffing and asking the affected persons to meet the committee set up to review their civil service status.

It was gathered that the release of the list, which is ongoing in the state ministries, parastatals, local government and MDAs, is already causing confusion in the service.

However, the state government had through the office of the State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah, assured the workers that they would not be thrown into the streets and would only affect those involved in employment fraud, redundancy and truancy.

The affected workers claimed the process is an alleged witch hunt due to political inclination and issue of unionism as those affected in the State Broadcasting Corporation include the leadership of the Radio, television and theatre art workers Union (RATTAWU).

Reacting to the development, the leadership of the Bayelsa state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists called on the State Government to review its decision to sack over two hundred media workers in the guise of redeployment.

According to the NUJ leadership: “This is sequel to a circular from the office of the Head of Service to heads of media parastatals to redeploy excess staff.”

The State Chairman of NUJ, Chairman Mr. John Angese, and Secretary Mr. Stanley Imgbi, noted that the parameter for determining excess workers is shrouded in secrecy saying most of the best hands have been affected.

According to the statement: “The issue of professionalism and competence has been thrown to the wind while compiling the list.”

It opined that the directive to stop salaries of the affected workers from the April 2018 voucher to be paid into the unpaid salary account in the state treasury is not a pointer to redeployment.

The union leaders urged government to reconsider its position based on the economic implication on the affected workers as most of them are bread winners of their family and the overall implication on the society.

The statement further urged members to remain calm while an emergency congress will be called to review the matter soon.

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