Victor Olakiitan in Ado Ekiti
Sequel to the directive issued by Governor Ayodele Fayose that only the members of Joint Heath Sector Unions (JEHESU), who have indicated interest to back out of the ongoing strike in Ekiti state will be paid the January Salary, the organized labour has replied that only the body could suspend the industrial action and no other authorized body could do so.
It also urged the workers to discountenance the threat by the Head of Service , Dr Olugbenga Faseluka ordering senior workers to resume work on Tuesday or face the dire consequences of their actions.
As a way of dividing the workers and weaken the strike declared by the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiating Council, to press for payment of five month salary arrears, Fayose on Friday threatened to invoke the doctrine of no-work-no-pay rule, probably to coerce the striking workers to return to their duty posts.
The TUC Chairman, who spoke in a telephone interview on Sunday , said all workers must remain at home pending the time the labour leaders would suspend the strike.
“We have told all civil servants that the strike still continue. So, whether you are a junior or senior worker, you are bound to adhere strictly to it.
“Contrary to what the Head of Service said, senior civil servants are members of our unions. Their returning to works depend on the position of the labour unions. Nobody can override us on this”, he stated.
Another release issued on Sunday being the outcome of an emergency meeting held at the Labour House in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday , the Unions said in a statement that : “The ongoing strike is not an ego trip or politically motivated, but about the rights of workers and pensioners who are dying daily out of hunger and frustration”.
Those who signed the release were the chairmen of TUC, Com Odunayo Adesoye, NLC, Com Ade Adesanmi and Secretary of JNC, Com Blessing Oladele.
They said contrary to common statement by the governor of incorporating representatives of labour Unions in the state’s monthly cash allocation meetings, “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 disagreed there was ever a time they reached accords 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 which he had then dismissed same as a ‘fraud’.
Organised Labour also expressed shock over the internally generated revenue (IGR) figures reeled out by the governor , saying “the Accountant General had given figures which ranged between only N150m and N200m, except that of N268m for April, the highest so declared by him, the governor during the media chat gave N267m for Sept. 2015; N252m for Oct. 2015; N195m for Nov. 2015; and N181m for Dec 2015.
“For Jan, Feb 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 further berated the governor for his planned decision 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, urging the entire workforce to remain in their various houses until otherwise directed by their respective unions.
“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”.