Strike: Soldiers Take over Government Offices in Bayelsa

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Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

A detachment of soldiers and mobile policemen were monday deployed in various government offices in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, following a planned protest by organised labour in the state.

The workers who haven’t been paid salaries since this year, last week embarked on an industrial action to compel Governor Seriake Dickson to fulfil the government’s obligation to them.

At the state Secretariat Complex, men of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield and some cops were seen at the gates and its annexes located few metres away from Creek Haven, the state Government House.
However, majority of the workers failed to turn up for work, in defiance of the state government’s “no work no pay rule.”

Few civil servants who reported for work yesterday were barred from accessing their offices by officials of organised labour, while the state government reportedly opened a register for those who came to work.
The state Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. John Ndiomu, noted that though discussions were going on with the government, the workers would not resume work until the talks were concluded.

“Series of meetings are going on with the government and we shall also be meeting today (Monday), but I am still urging our members to remain at home.

“The strike is now on its third day, and we are still on it, it is true that the state government has started the payment for January alone but we will continue to stay at home until the union reaches a favourable decision.
“The strike which commenced on May 19 would not be called off until the government clears the backlog of salaries owed civil servants,” the labour leader said.

Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Tari Duonana, noted that the strike would continue despite the ‘threats’ by the government.

“We cannot be intimidated. We know the tactics of all these people. They will come with this type of arrangement but they are not God. They have the guts and the money, but we have the population by us,” the TUC chairman said.