Radio Bayelsa Staff Shun Certificate Verification Exercise


The workers of Radio Bayelsa last Monday shunned the certificate verification exercise ordered by a newly-appointed General Manager of the station, Dr John Idumange, scheduled to commence on Monday.
The Tide reports that the workers had issued a seven-day ultimatum which lapsed on January 10, to the station’s General Manager, to speedily resolve the outstanding labour crisis and restore industrial harmony.
The Tide source said that the exercise did not take off as the workers rather attended a joint congress of the two unions in the radio station.
The workers, under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Radio and Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU), resolved to shun the certificate verification after a joint congress of the unions.
The Tide was informed that more than 200 staff of the radio station christened Glory FM,  attended the joint congress of NUJ and RATTAWU at the station’s premises in Yenagoa.
The meeting was presided over by the Bayelsa Chairman of NUJ, Mr John Angase, and Bayelsa Chairman of RATTAWU, Mr David Emiebi.
The unions urged the management to suspend the verification exercise within the next 48 hours or face industrial action, adding that failure to convene a meeting to resolve contentious issues with staff would compel the workforce to down tools.
Addressing the workers, Angase said that the unions had made several unsuccessful efforts to mediate between the Radio Bayelsa chapters of the NUJ and RATTAWU, and the management of the station.
“The certificate verification slated to commence on January 9, should be suspended pending a meeting with members of staff to resolve the contentious issues causing industrial disharmony.
“We are not in any way opposed to certificate verification, but we do believe that due process should be followed and the processes should be discussed with the unions.
“We want the new general manager to address the workers and unfold his plans for the station.
“We, therefore, urge every worker to boycott the exercise, pending when the general manager sees the need to meet with workers to iron things out,’’ Angase said.
The unions also alleged that the general manager had breached public service rules by compelling senior officers to take directives from their juniors.
They said that there were established procedures within the public service to deal with cases of incompetence and misconduct, as the sanctions spelt out for such offences were clear.
But in his reaction, the general manager, Dr. John Idumange, dismissed the allegations, accusing the unions of being used to sabotage efforts to reposition the station.
Idumange said that there was no going back on the verification exercise as it was authorised by the supervising ministry of information and anyone who decides not to participate would be declared a ghost worker.
“The exercise is not even my brainchild; in fact, my predecessor had compiled a list of over 200 workers for redeployment. Those who wish to continue working here should participate or risk losing their jobs.
He said that the senior officials affected by the ongoing reforms were using the unions to resist the reforms.
Idumange explained that the exercise was targeted at ensuring that employees were placed in their fields of study, as well as to fish out those with fake certificates.
“There is nothing like industrial disharmony. This small radio station has 346 workers; employment and job placement have never followed due process.
“To correct those anomalies, we are commencing a certificate and staff verification which will last for four days.