The Enlightened Workers Forum (EWF), An interest group in Ekiti State, has criticized labour leaders over an alleged plan to honour Governor Ayo Fayose with “the Comrade Governor Award” at the May Day celebration on Monday.
The group berated the leaders of the state councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) and other unions planning the award accusing them of insensitivity to the plight of workers.
In a statement on Sunday signed by its Coordinator, Mike Bamidele, the EWF contended that Fayose does not deserve the award labour leadersare planning to confer on him because workers and pensioners are suffering under his administration.
The workers claimed that the deal for the award was sealed at a ‘secret’ meeting the representatives of unions allegedly held with the governor where it was agreed that N10 million would be committed into the project.
The statement read in part: “By the way, why thois award and why the Labour? Is it to appreciate him (Fayose) for punishing us unduly?
Right now, the workers are being owed six months arrears of salary, local government workers eight months and pensioners seven months.
Are we to thank him for making us celebrate the last Xmas without salary for the first time in the history of the state or for the Xmas bonus of only five per cent of basic while his predecessor paid 30 per cent of same?
Though we had listened to the governor’s cooked up stories on how his predecessor threw the state into imaginary debt but in the real sense of it,
Ekiti had no excuse at all to owe salary if the man in charge had been honest and if the “cash and carry’ Labour had been alive toits responsibility.”
The state NLC Chairman Ade Adesanmi described the EWF as a “faceless group” that should not be dignified with any answer challenging members of the group to come into the open and cooperate with labour leaders to make lif better for workers.
He explained that “Comrade Governor” to be given to Fayose “is not an award but a decoration” to appreciate what he has done for workers.
Adesanmi added: “It is not an award but a decoration that we supposed to have done last year but we suspended it when Ekiti lost six doctors in an auto accident in April last year.
I want to say that this group of people cannot be hiding under a name and be spreading falsehood; we don’t know them, we don’t know their office and we don’t know their phone number.
If they are really concerned about workers’ welfare, let us know them so that we can work together but it is not good for them to be hiding somewhere and be throwing stones. If there are things they feel we are not doing right let them come into the open and tell us.”