Ogun State Government has issued a note of warning to civil servants serving under the state government, vowing to invoke no work no pay on workers that partake in the proposed Strike set to be embark upon by the state chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, and Trade Union Congress TUC.
This was contain in a release by Barr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, Secretary to Ogun State Government, on Monday.
Earlier, the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, in conjunction with Trade Union Congress, TUC, and the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, at a conference in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, vowed to begin an indefinite strike on Thursday if the state government does not pay them deductions from their salaries and other allowances.
The press conference, addressed by Abiodun Olakanmi, Olubunmi Fajobi and Akeem Ambali, at the Nigeria Union of Journalists’ Press Centre, was called to serve a “last warning,” following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum by the labour unions to the state government.
Mr. Olakanmi said the unions had embarked on strike in March but suspended it following the intervention of the State House of Assembly, traditional rulers and other prominent citizens in the state.
He said the workers would resume the strike, unless the state government met their demands and honoured various agreements reached in the course of the dispute.
The workers are asking the government to immediately pay outstanding 12 months unions check off dues, stop contributory pension deductions, and pay 12 months of other deductions, which include bank loans’ repayment, co-operatives’ savings, Ileya/festivals savings and gradual payment of retirees gratuities.
“Without the state government attending to these demands, the industrial action we are embarking on come Thursday will not be called off nor be suspended,” Mr. Olakanmi stated.
“We view the inaction of the Ogun State government as being deliberate, calculative and designed to make the civil servants poorer”, he stressed.
Mr. Olakanmi said a worker had died in the state “due to lack of money”. He added, that “workers can no longer tolerate the bluff of the state government, while most of them agonize in silence”.
The state NLC chairman, Mr. Ambali, said the workers have suffered enough.
“It is a total strike. If they call us we will not answer”.
He said the workers were prepared to forfeit one month salary in order for their deductions to be paid.
The Chairman of the TUC, Mr. Fajobi, said the state government had on numerous occasions reneged on agreements with workers.
“We have been humiliated to the extent that many can’t feed their families, many can’t pay their children’s school fees and take care of themselves. Everybody has agreed to go on the strike,” Mr. Fajobi said.
Read the full Statement released by the State Government :
The Ogun State Government has described the proposed strike action called by a few disgruntled elements in the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) as illegal.
The state government wondered why this few, unpopular elements would seek to lead workers out on a misguided strike action since government has not defaulted in the payment of salaries as and when due.
For instance, the Ogun State government paid its workers September salaries on September 25, 2016.
With regards to the backlog of unpaid cooperative deductions, the SSG added that the state government has also kept faith with an agreement it reached with labour leaders in March 2016 to the effect that one month of cooperative deductions would be paid, alongside monthly salaries, every two months.
“We promised to pay outstanding gratuities when we receive bulk funds from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) but this has not been forthcoming due to the dwindling revenue profile of the state,” Barrister Adeoluwa said.
In addition to this, the Ogun State government is also aware of the fact that under the extant Public Service rules, the TUC/NLC, which signed the notice of strike action issued on Monday, have no roles in calling workers out on a strike action at the state level. On the contrary, it is only the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council that is authorized to do so.
In view of this, the Ogun State government therefore declares the proposed strike action as illegal, unreasonable and totally uncalled for while urging the generality of its workforce not to heed the call of a few misguided elements whose motive is clearly political.
To buttress this point, the SSG said information at the disposal of the state government has shown that the labour leaders have ulterior motives beyond the protection of the interest of workers.
This is further exemplified by what played out during the commemoration of the 2016 World Teachers Day when labour leaders, against the grain of Civil Service Rules, hired a musician and sang the praise of a politician for hours on end.
In the circumstance, the state government hereby serves notice that it will invoke the ‘no work, no pay’ rule of the Trade Dispute Act in relation to any worker who choses to embark on this illegal strike action.
Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa