The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, in Osun State has directed workers in the state to resume the industrial action that was suspended on Monday evening. This is coming barely 24hours after it was suspended. The workers had suspended their month-old strike after signing Memorandum of Understanding, detailing how they wanted their salaries to be paid, with the state government. The state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Jacob Adekomi, in a television announcement monitored in Osogbo, last night, said workers should not resume as earlier directed.
The NLC boss said it was agreed that workers would be paid salaries for the months of January and February 2015 for secondary schools’ teachers and those in the core civil service. With the development, Adekomi said all unions that are affiliate of labour movement will be meeting later yesterday to deliberate on the situation. Hours after civil servants in Osun State suspended the strike over non-payment of salaries, they accused the government of allegedly deceiving them to resume duties. It was gathered that workers on grade level 1-7 in secondary schools and the civil service got full payment of their January salaries, while the senior officers got half salaries. Also, primary and secondary schools’ pensioners were paid 50% of their pensions for months of January and November respectively. Addressing the newsmen on the development, Adekomi, said the workers rejected the half salaries because it was in breach of the agreement reached by both parties. He said NLC suspended the strike because it believed government would honour the agreement in the MoU the two parties signed.
In a reaction, the ruling All Progressives Party, APC’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Mr Kunle Oyatomi said government’s initial stand was to pay the two months arrears fully as agreed with the labour leaders before the strike was suspended, “but there was a shortfall where the money was sourced from. “In order not to disappoint the workers, the government thought that it is better to pay half and balance up later. I can assure you that the balance would be paid before the end of the week. You know that the government is yet to receive its own share of bailout from the Federal Government”.
The government in its own reaction said; “The attention of the State Government of Osun has been drawn to a growing discontent among workers in the state on the partial payment of salaries to workers on Grade Level 08 and above.According to a statement by Semiu Okanlawon Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor; “The governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, wishes to appeal for calm and understanding from all workers in the state. The government wishes to state that it realised the need to accommodate our senior citizens, the pensioners, within the limited funds available in order to ensure an all-inclusive payment that will alleviate the hardship that the delay in salaries and pensions had caused. It should be noted that happiness never decreases by being shared. We are committed to meeting our obligations to the workers as more funds become available to settle such.This period calls for deep understanding of our challenges and we appeal to all and sundry for cooperation in this regard."