From Tunde Sanni in Ibadan
Workers in Oyo State public service have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike from today over the table introduced by the state government on the implementation of the new wage.
But the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Akin Olajide, said the purported strike was illegal and unconstitutional.
Olajide in statement made available to THISDAY, said: “The attention of the Government of Oyo State has been drawn to a purported call for a strike by a group unknown to law and government. As a government that abides by the rule of law, the State government wishes to state that such a call is illegal and irresponsible. Government calls on all workers in the employment of the state to be law-abiding by reporting for work tomorrow, Monday, March 19, 2012. The government states that whichever worker that abstains from work on the order of the unknown group does so at the risk of his/her career.”
However, the workers insisting on the strike, accused the leadership of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over alleged sell out on the table issue and announced their removal.
The workers led by an acclaimed chairman of the caretaker committee, Bayo Akande, disowned the wage table which they described as a negation of the promise of the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, while canvassing for votes last year.
The angry workers affirmed that they had passed votes of no confidence on the labour leaders over what they described as their inability to protect their interest in the negotiation with the state government on the implementation of N18,000 minimum wage.
However, the chairman of the local NLC, Bashir Olanrewaju, said the alleged sack of his executive council and those of Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiation Council (JNC) by the workers of the state was an internal issue already being addressed for amicable settlement.
The compromise position of their leaders, the workers alleged led to the release of an unacceptable table by the government and ruled out industrial peace in the state unless there was change of heart on the part of the state government.
But Olanrewaju, in a telephone conversation on Sunday acknowledged that the action of the workers was in protest against the minimum wage table as released by the state government, stressing that it was an internal issue being already looked into.
The aggrieved workers unanimously resolved to be resuming at the NLC Secretariat every day from today until their demand, “which is the full implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage across board as against the current table which only took care of level 01 to 04.”
Another leader of the workers, who preferred speaking on condition of anonymity told our reporter that the labour leaders would not bother to come to the NLC secretariat because of the unruly attitude of the workers, alleging that they were always being assaulted by throwing pebbles and satchets of water at them.
The labour leader disclosed that the government, in arriving at the contentious table made it known to the labour leaders that with its commitment of 92 per cent of the total revenue of the state to workers’ wage bill, the only option available to it was to retrench from the work-force, an option he said was rejected by the labour leaders and which the workers were kicking against.
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