Ekiti Workers Call off Strike as Govt Succumbs to Pressure

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Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

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

This was sequel to the state Governor, Kayode Fayemi’s readiness to meet some of the demands outlined by organised labour at a meeting held in the midnight of last Sunday to Monday 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, last Friday issued the strike notice, the governor 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 yesterday 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 on Iyin road and the old governor’s office at Oke Ori Omi, the offices were deserted while few staff were seen performing skeletal works in their respective offices.

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

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 the state 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, read: “Government will continue to pay the gross salaries of workers.

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

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

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