By Gbenga Olarinoye
Osogbo—CIVIL servants in Osun State, yesterday, embarked on an indefinite strike action over payment of modulated salaries by the state government among other issues.
To enforce total compliance with the strike, the labour leaders blocked the entrance to state secretariat.
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in Osun state, had on Friday directed all civil servants in the state to commence on an indefinite strike after the Christmas break if the state government failed to meet their demands.
The union leaders and some of their members were reported to have arrived at the state secretariat as early as 6 a.m, to ensure that no worker resumed for work at the state secretariat.
The state Chairman of NLC, Mr Jacob Adekomi, who spoke with newsmen at the entrance of the state secretariat, said that their call for a strike was beyond payment of full salaries alone.
Adekomi said: “Workers on Levels one to seven had not being promoted since 2012. Those promoted temporarily had not been confirmed and the civil service rules says after two years of appointment, you have to be confirmed.
“Conversion of appointment and promotion advancement had not been given to the workers and these among others are the things we are fighting for.”
He said the workers were told promotion was a privilege and they would use the strike to fight for their rights which he said the government had tagged a privilege.
“Let our people be promoted, confirmed, given advancement and what they need and let pensioners be paid and full salaries paid to workers, these are our demands from the state government”, he said.
Also speaking, the state chairman, Trade Union Congress, TUC, Mr Adekola Adebowale said as at the last meeting they held with the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, he told them their demands were privileges and not their rights.
He said the unions and workers would now be using the strike to demand for their rights which he said the governor referred to as a privilege.
Osun Govt reacts
In its reaction, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa said “strike is a legitimate means for workers to press home their demands. We have had series of discussions on how to avert the strike. I will like to state that far reaching decisions have been taken but it is yet to transform into absolute agreement; that is why the strike is taken place today.”
Baderinwa added.He said the unions had taken measures to ensure that their action was not hijacked by anybody or group outside the civil service, saying that their committee on security were taking care of that.
He said the union leaders are all over the state, making sure no worker resumed to work and that all the health centres, courts, local government secretariats and other institutions were all shut down by the union.
As about 10:30am, Adekomi addressed his members, stating that he had been called for a meeting by the state government and said he would be updating his members on the outcome of the meeting.
He instructed workers on levels one to seven not to resume work as directed by the state government, saying until otherwise directed by the labour unions, they should stay away from work.