ONDO State workers will today begin an indefinite strike over non-payment of their five months’ salaries. The decision to embark on the industrial action was taken at a meeting yesterday morning in Akure, the state capital.
It was attended by leaders of Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).
A statement jointly issued by the unions’ chairmen – NLC (Bosede Daramola), JNC (Adeleye Sunday) and TUC (Ekundayo Soladoye) as well as their secretaries – NLC (Adewale Sanusi), JNC (Akinlolu Oluwole and TUC (Fatuase Clement) – lamented the hardship being faced by the workers.
It reads: “At the emergency meeting held Tuesday, May 31, 2016, by the leadership of JNC, NLC and TUC to deliberate on the plight of workers due to the failure of the state government to pay its workers/pensioners since January 2016, the labour leaders resolve as follows:
That it has become unbearable that workers have not received salaries for the past five months at a stretch.
That non-payment of salaries to workers have affected the well-being of workers/pensioners economically, socially, psychologically and health wise, and that workers in the state can no longer bear this situation, in view of the untold hardship suffered by these workers.
“In view of the above, all workers are hereby directed to embark on an indefinite strike as from tomorrow until further notice.”
But the state government yesterday sympathised with the workers over their unpaid salaries, saying efforts are being made to “clear outstanding salaries as soon as possible”.
Commissioner for Information Kayode Akinmade, in a statement issued in Akure, explained that allocation from the Federation Account, which all states rely upon to pay workers’ salaries, has drastically gone down.
He added: “Today, most states of the federation have devised the means of preserving between five and six months’ allocations to be able to pay month’s salary.
“The state government being a people’s government is not folding its arms. We are already discussing with the Federal Government on the need to reimburse the state with the money deducted from states’ funds to offset the Paris Club’s debt.
“It is also important that to say that the Federal Government has verified more than N9.5 billion that Ondo State government disbursed on the maintenance of federal facilities within our jurisdiction. If we get funds from these two sources, we would be in a better position to clear the backlog of salaries.
“We also want say that this is a trying period for the country and we crave the workers’ understanding to have a rethink because of the implications and consequences of the planned industrial actions on the millions of Ondo people.”