Labour Shelves Strike In Ondo

Organised labour unions in Ondo State have cancelled their planned indefinite strike to protest non-payment of salaries. This followed the payment six out of the seven-month salary arrears owed civil servants in the state. The labour unions had initially given the state an ultimatum to use the N20 billion Paris Club refund accrued to the state from the Federation Account to pay salary or face strike. But with the payment, the unions have withdrawn the ultimatum given to the state. The organised labour, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), had asked Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to pay all the salary arrears of the workers or face their wrath.

The Chairmen of the unions, Messrs. Tayo Ogunleye, Soladoye Ekundayo and Abel Oloniyo, said they would not be able to guarantee industrial peace in the state if the government failed to pay the outstanding salaries. They threatened to resume the strike which workers suspended in June 2016 in the state. However, the NLC Chairman, Mr. Tayo Ogunleye, who spoke with journalists yesterday, said government had paid six out of the sevenmonth salary arrears with the promise to pay the remaining one month before the end of January. Ogunleye said the leadership of the organised labour had not compromised on the strike but only negotiated with government on workers’ welfare. He said government should not be waiting for an ultimatum from the labour unions before it yielded to labour’s demands.

Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Mr. Segun Ajiboye, who confirmed the payment of salary arrears and the withdrawal of the ultimatum, said Akeredolu, at inception on February 24, 2017, inherited seven months’ salary arrears of workers in the state. According to the CPS, the last time Akeredolu’s predecessor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, paid workers’ salary was in August 2016. Mimiko left office in February 2017. He said: “Akeredolu has vowed to clear the arrears and prioritise the welfare of workers. Today, he has kept to the promise; he has paid six months’ arrears out of the seven months inherited in less than two years in office.

“The governor does not view the payment of salary as achievement, rather he sees it as a duty and responsibility if government. But for record purposes, Akeredolu inherited arrears of August 2016 to February 2017; only the salary of December 2016 is yet to be paid.” By the end of this year, workers in Ondo State would have collected salary for 15 months – 12 in the year and three arrears of past years.”

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