Posted by By AKEEB ALARAPE, Ibadan on
Oyo State workers on Monday called the bluff of the state government and refused to show up in the office despite the threat that those who did not would be dealt with. This is coming at a time the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) endorsed the strike embarked upon by civil servants, saying it had nothing to do with political crisis in the state.
Oyo State workers on Monday called the bluff of the state government and refused to show up in the office despite the threat that those who did not would be dealt with.
This is coming at a time the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) endorsed the strike embarked upon by civil servants, saying it had nothing to do with political crisis in the state.
Oyo workers commenced an industrial action Tuesday last week to protest the decision of the Governor Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala administration to revert the N9, 400 new minimum wage approved by the immediate past administration in the state, to the old wage of N6, 500.
The government had threatened, at the weekend, to deal with any worker who failed to resume duty just as it directed all its permanent secretaries, directors of personnel and senior officials to open registers at each of the ministries to take record of workers who complied with its directive.
Despite this threat, none of the workers showed up at the state’s secretariat on Monday. Rather, they converged on the secretariat of the NLC, where they prayed, sang and called the state government unprintable names while also celebrating the fact that the government was unable to break their ranks.
Expressing solidarity with the workers, the National President of NLC, Comrade Abdul-Waheed Omar, commended them for their courage.
In a message delivered to the enlarged congress of the workers by the National Deputy-President of NLC, Comrade Peter Adeyemi, on behalf of the national executive officers of the labour union, the NLC expressed worry over the attack on the workers by hoodlums during a peaceful procession last week.
"We support the workers of Oyo State. We share very strongly in their struggle.
We believe that they have a right as Nigerians not only to protest but also to demand what is legitimately due to them. Also, we believe very honestly that the government of Oyo State has the responsibility to respond positively to the yearnings, aspirations and legitimate demands of the workers of Oyo State.
"I particularly want to use this opportunity to appeal to the government of Oyo State to return to the negotiating table, implement what has been approved so that we can bring to an end this crisis, which of course, is going to impact negatively on the economy of the state and will also affect the wellbeing of the citizenry.
"Let me state emphatically, on behalf of the president of the congress, that as of this strike, we can say authoritatively that it was not politically motivated. It has no political undertone and we appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to help us prevail on those in government to stop using the opportunity of the struggle for legitimate demands to hide under. What is currently on the table is the implementation of an agreement that has been freely entered into," Adeyemi stated.
He said the NLC was ready to be part of the negotiation between the workers and the state government, saying the workers won’t go back to work until the contentious issue was amicably resolved.
Earlier at the state secretariat of the NLC, the Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheik Busari Suara Haruna 11, in company of other Islamic clerics in state, also paid solidarity visit to the workers while appealing to them to give room for negotiation and ensure the resolution of the crisis in due course.
The Chief Imam, who was later asked to pray for the workers and for the successful actualization of their struggle, was also asked to prevail on the government not to ever think of retrenching anyone of them and also to guarantee their security if any meeting would hold.
Meanwhile, the state government has expressed hope that the impasse would come to an end before the end of the week.
Speaking through the Special Adviser to the governor on Public Communication, Prince Dotun Oyelade, government stated that a truce would have been brokered if the workers had not shunned negotiation in the first place.
"We are very hopeful that before the week runs out, Oyo State workers will resume work. We believe that labour will attend the meeting at the Executive Chambers of the governor’s office and we are very optimistic that Oyo State government and the Joint Negotiation Committee (JNC) would reach a positive conclusion," Oyelade stated.