By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN—OYO State Governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala’s insistence on non-payment of teachers’ July salary may pitch him against the 33,000 workers in the state.
This indication emerged yesterday when the Oyo State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, led by Comrade Lamidi Apapa, described the refusal of the governor to pat the teachers as self-serving and treasonable.
Faulting the hard line stance of Governor Alao-Akala on the issue, he said it would be wise for the governor to heed the voice of reason now “before darkness falls again, this time to mark the beginning of an end.”
Apapa said it was wrong for him to apply the rule of “no work, no pay” because the strike came as a result of the failure of the government to keep and honour agreement.
He said: “The strike was induced and motivated by the state government which avoided dialogue for over two years of agitation for the payment of the 27.5 per cent, and found it difficult to keep agreement signed in 2008 and which other states have been implementing for over a year.”
State Executive decision
The state government through the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Nureni Adeniran, had said the decision not to pay the July salary was taken at the State Executive Council meeting.
Apapa dismissed the position of the Commissioner, saying it could not have been the unanimous decision as claimed.
He said: “It is hypocritical of Oyo State Government to preach dialogue on industrial dispute matters when a dialogue brokered by the Federal Ministry of Labour, which could have saved the state from the avoidable strike, was ignored by the power that be.
“It is also important to remind Oyo State Government that work boycotted in July was eventually redeemed as teachers returned to schools to complete the session, covered the lost ground and losing their long holiday in the process.
“Equity has been served. Inspite of the strike, nothing was lost to the pupils, parents and the government. To now force the teachers to sacrifice their July salary defeats that equity and justice.”