Ekiti Workers Call off Strike as Govt Succumbs to Pressure

Kayode Fayemi

By Victor Ogunje

Barely 12 hours after the commencement of the three-day warning strike declared to press for the payment of outstanding benefits, workers in the Ekiti State civil service have called off the industrial action.

This was sequel to Governor Kayode Fayemi’s readiness to meet some of the demands outlined by organised labour at a meeting held midnight Sunday up to Monday’s morning.

Shortly after the organised labour, in a joint statement signed by the Chairmen of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Kolapo Kolade; Trade Union Congress (TUC), Sola Adigun; and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Kayode Fatomiluyi, had on, Friday issued the strike notice, Governor Fayemi had summoned a meeting to deliberate on how to avert the crisis.

Despite the action taken to pacify the aggrieved labour leaders, the strike was successful on Monday before the dramatic turn of events, as workers complied with the labour’s directive, by shunning their duty posts.

When journalists visited the new Secretariat along new Iyin road and the old Governor’s Office at Oke Ori Omi, the offices looked deserted, while a few staff were seen performing skeletal works in their respective offices.

In the communique issued at the end of the troubleshooting parley held by government and labour delegations, government agreed to immediately effect the financial benefits of 2015 promotion by September 2020, while that of the 2016 to 2019 will follow.

During the negotiation, the Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi; Senior Special Assistant on Labour Matters, Oluyemi Esan; and the Permanent Secretary, Establishment and Service Matters, Mr. Bayo Opeyemi, led government’s delegation that met with the labour leaders.

The communique jointly signed by the two negotiating sides leading to the suspension of the strike reads: “That government will continue to pay the gross salaries of workers.

“That government will effect payment of financial benefits for 2015 promotion by September, while that of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 will follow.

“That payment of outstanding deduction for the month of May, 2020 to be paid in phases and to pay outstanding deductions, salaries and leave bonuses in phases.

“That negotiation on the implementation of the new minimum wage and consequential adjustment will resume as soon as Covid-19 subsides.

“That other issues affecting public service in relation to service matters shall be looked into.

“Therefore, the three days warning strike proposed to commence on Monday, 3rd August, 2020, is called off immediately.”