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Ekiti workers vow to continue with strike action

…Say govt gives conflicting figures on IGR

By Rotimi Ojomoyela

Ado-Ekiti-Organised Labour in Ekiti State, has accused Governor Ayodele Fayose of blackmailing the Unions, in order to court sympathy and whip public sentiments against workers on their ongoing strike.

Fayose
Fayose

Rising from an emergency meeting in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, the Unions, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), dismissed the insinuations that the strike action was politically motivated, but about the rights of workers and pensioners, who according to them, are dying daily out of hunger and frustration.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, the organised Labour berated the governor for deciding to go on strike too, noting that “this (decision) leaves much to be desired”.

Apparently responding to the governor’s declarations during his monthly media chat, which was broadcast live on electronic stations in the state, the workers in a jointly signed statement by Paul Olayemi (NLC), John Adebayo (TUC) and Blessing Oladele (JNC), blamed the governor for mentioning just four of the ten demands earlier presented to him by the Unions, while, according to them, no solutions were given to even the four.

Contrary to the statement by the governor that the state’s organised labour had representatives in the state’s monthly cash allocation meetings, the labour said the meeting was only a briefing and not a cash allocation.

According to them, “the meeting is only a briefing and not a cash allocation meeting. So, the idea of labour leaders sharing monthly cash allocation and the governor approving does not arise. There has never been any advice or suggestion given to government by the organised labour at this forum that has ever been taken”.

They said there was never a time they reached accord with government to pay only net salary which would exclude cooperative deductions, bank loans and union dues, expressing regrets the governor himself had condemned net payment when he came on board and during his election campaigns, a practice, he described as a ‘fraud’.

Organised Labour also expressed shock over the internally generated revenue (IGR) figures reeled out by the governor which overshot and were entirely different to what was declared by the Accountant General at any of their meetings.

According to them, while the Accountant General had given figures which ranged between only N150m and N200m, except that of N268m for April, the highest so declared by her, the governor during the media chat gave N267m for Sept. 2015; N252m for Oct. 2015; N195m for Nov. 2015; and N181m for Dec 2015.

They added that for January, February and March, the accruals, according to the governor, were N389m, N381m, and N302m respectively, adding “Labour was embarrassed to hear the monthly IGR read on air by His Excellency”

The leadership of the Unions, described as an attempt to polarise the labour in the state, the decision of the government to pay only the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), a section of workers in the state, which had decided to pull out of the ongoing strike action.

It therefore urged the entire workforce to remain in their various houses until otherwise directed by their respective unions.

The statement reads in part, “On the issue of outstanding salary, it is common knowledge that all workers have performed their duties effieciently and effectively for the period of January to May 2016 and hence they deserve their paywithout further delay. Therefore, contrary to government decision to pay the sector that opted out of current struggle is tantamount to divide and rule tactics usually employed by government in situations like this.”

“It should be noted that Labour has neither suspended nor call off the ongoing industrial action in the state, hence we are using this medium to implore the entire workers of all categories in all sectors to stay at home and observe the strike action until the leadership of organised Labour gives further directives.”


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