By Ola Ajayi
Ibadan—GOVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State told about 62,000 workers in the state yesterday that they could not threaten his administration with strike, noting that the principle of pro-rata payment of salaries would be applied for every worker who participates in a planned industrial action without adherence to due process.
He said this at a stakeholders’ meeting on agricultural development at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan.
The meeting had in attendance prominent traditional rulers in the state, labour leaders and caretaker committee chairmen of the 33 Local Government Areas of the state.
Among the traditional rulers that attended the meeting include; the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji; Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oyewumi Ajagungbade, who sent a representative and several others.
Apparently, the rulers were invited to the meeting so that they could prevail on the workers to shelve the planned strike. The workers had given a 7-day ultimatum to the governor to do something urgent about the five months salaries being owed them. Some of the workers were last paid in October last year.
At the meeting, the traditional rulers pleaded with the labour union to consider the dwindling allocation to the state and shelve the strike.
But, responding, the state Nigeria Labour Congress chairman, Mr. Waheed Olojede, said another meeting had been slated for yesterday evening and the outcome would determine what action to take.
While speaking, Governor Ajimobi said; “Instead of N5 billion, everybody is aware of the Nigeria situation, and now we are getting N2 billion plus from Federal Government. It was agreed that about 90 per cent of income accruing from the state’s monthly allocation from the Federation Account should be dedicated to the workers, while the remaining 10 per cent would be deployed to the running of other aspects of governance.”
He explained further the state government had kept its own parts of the agreement, describing the planned strike as surprising, unnecessary and uncalled-for in the prevailing circumstance.
Reacting, Olojede said: “The governor said we did not have to go into ultimatum because we had a mutual agreement. The ultimatum became necessary when we discovered that the government was dodging the labour force.