Workers’ Strike: Fayose, HoS Can’t Overrule Us, Say Labour Leaders

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By Victor Olakiitan in Ado Ekiti

Sequel to the directive issued by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State that only the members of Joint Heath Sector Unions (JEHESU),  who have indicated interest to back out of the ongoing strike in Ekiti State will be paid the January Salary, the organised labour has replied that only the body could suspend the industrial action and no other authorised body could do so.

It also  urged the workers to discountenance the threat by the  Head of Service , Dr. Olugbenga Faseluka, ordering  senior workers to resume work  on tomorrow or face the dire consequences.

As a way of dividing  the workers and weakening the strike declared by the Nigerian Labour Congress,  Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiating Council,  to press for the payment of five month salary arrears, Fayose at the weekend threatened to invoke the doctrine of no-work-no-pay, to coerce the striking workers to return to their duty posts.

The TUC Chairman, who spoketo THISDAY on Sunday, said all  workers  must remain at home pending the time the labour leaders would suspend the strike.

“We have told all  civil  servants that the strike continues. So, whether  you are a junior or senior worker, you are bound to adhere strictly to it.

“Contrary to what the Head of Service said, senior civil servants are members of our  unions. Their returning to works depend on the position of the labour unions. Nobody can override us on this,” he stated.

In another statement issued yesterday being the outcome of an emergency meeting held at the Labour House in  Ado-Ekiti on Saturday, the Unions said: “The ongoing strike is not an ego trip noris it politically motivated. It is about the rights of workers and pensioners who are dying daily out of hunger and frustration.”

Those who signed the release were the chairmen of TUC, Odunayo Adesoye; NLC chairman,  Ade Adesanmi; and Secretary of JNC, Blessing Oladele.

They said contrary to common statement by the governor of incorporating representatives of labour unions in the state’s monthly cash allocation meetings, “The meeting is only a briefing and not a cash allocation meeting. So, the idea of labour leaders sharing monthly cash allocation and the governor approving does not arise.

There has never been any advice or suggestion given to government by the organised labour at this forum that has ever been taken.”

They disagreed that there was ever a time they reached an accord with government to pay only net salary which would exclude cooperative deductions, bank loans and union dues, stating that the governor himself had condemned net payment when he came on board and during his election campaigns which he had then dismissed as a ‘fraud’.

The organised labour unions also expressed shock over the internally generated revenue (IGR) figures reeled out by the governor, saying  “the Accountant General had given figures which ranged between only N150m and N200m, except that of N268m for April, the highest so declared by him, the governor during the media chat gave N267m for September 2015; N252m for October 2015; N195m for November 2015; and N181m for December 2015.

“For Jannuary, February and March, the accruals, according to the governor, were N389m, N381m, and N302m respectively, adding “Labour was embarrassed to hear the monthly IGR read on air by His Excellency.”

The leadership of the unions further berated the governor for his planned to pay only the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), a section of workers in the state, which had decided to pull out of the ongoing strike action, urging the entire workforce to remain  at home until otherwise directed by their respective unions.

 “It should be noted that Labour has neither suspended nor called off the ongoing industrial action in the state, hence we are using this medium to implore the entire workers of all categories in all sectors to stay at home and observe the strike action until the leadership of organised Labour gives further directives.”