From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart in Ondo State yesterday directed their members to embark on an indefinite strike following the non-payment of five months workers salaries by the government.
By this directive, all workers in the employment of the state government will from today boycott their various places of work.
The directive to commence the strike was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of an emergency meeting of the leadership of the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), NLC) and the TUC held in Akure, the state capital.
Labour said the strike became inevitable following the state government’s negligence of the welfare of all categories of workers in the state.
The communiqué stated that the non-payment of salaries between January and May by the state government had negatively affected workers and pensioners economically, socially, psychologically and healthwise.
The organised labour expressed dismay over the failure of the government to honour an agreement earlier reached with them on the payment of two out of the five months by yesterday evening.
The communiqué reads: “It has become unbearable that workers have not received salaries for the past five months at a stretch. Workers of
Ondo State can no longer bear this situation in view of the untold hardship suffered by them.”
However, it was gathered that secondary school students currently writing NECO examination will be allowed to continue with the exercise during the strike.
The labour unions directed all workers in the employ of the state government to stay away from their offices, just as hospitals, public schools, state-owned media organisations will be shut down during the industrial action.
Controversy trails Ekiti labour strike
… Drivers, artisans accuse union leaders of N25m bribe
From Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Controversy is trailing the on-going strike by the Ekiti State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
While sectional trade unions in the state, comprising artisans and commercial drivers, staged anti-workers’ protest in Ado Ekiti, accusing the leadership of striking faction of taking N25 million bribe to destabilise the Governor Ayo Fayose-led administration, the striking labour described the pro-government faction as being ignorant.
The protesters, led by chairmen of Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Samuel Agbede and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Clement Adekola, described the strike declared by Labour unions to press home their demand for the payment of outstanding benefits as politically motivated.
The RTEAN chairman expressed disappointment with the workers, saying he expected the Labour leaders to take a cue from Ondo, Oyo, Benue and Osun states, that owed more than five months salaries without the workers going on strike.
“The workers cannot afford to paralyse the state because Governor Fayose has demonstrated transparency in the distribution of federal allocations accruing to Ekiti. The Labour leaders were part of the negotiation that agreed that two months allocations should be lumped up to pay one-month salary.
“But as we speak now, two months allocations cannot even pay one month salary. The governor used March and April allocations to pay for December and where do they expect him to get money to pay full salary of about N2.6 billion monthly now?
“We expect them to show understanding. But we are beginning to see that this strike has political undertone,” he alleged.
Agbede berated the Labour unions for asking Fayose to spend the internally generated revenue to pay workers’ salary together with federal allocations, urging them to desist from arrogating the state to workers alone.
He, however, said the concerned unions will appeal to Fayose to use the allocations left over to pay whatever percentage it could offer to workers to alleviate their sufferings.
His NURTW counterpart added that they should not expect Fayose to go and borrow money to pay salaries or in the alternative stop all the ongoing projects, saying: “Ekiti State belongs to both public and private sectors. So, they should not see Ekiti as belonging to them alone.
“We even learnt from reliable sources that the Labour leaders collected N25 million to destabilise Ekiti. We want them to return to negotiation table in the interest of our future,” he said.
The TUC Chairman, Odunayo Adesoye, who dispelled the bribery allegation, appealed to the drivers to stop displaying illiteracy or allows themselves to be used as thugs.
“What we are agitating for is our rights and we cannot wait for any political party to tell us when to take action. The pensioners are dying every day. Workers have become paupers and beggars. What we want is our money and nothing more. The drivers and artisans must reason along with us and stop displaying ignorance and illiteracy.”