• I can’t sell myself or family to run govt, says Fayose
From Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
An industrial action declared by Ekiti State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Unions Congress (TUC) yesterday, paralysed government activities as offices were shut and workers stayed at home.
Workers, under the auspices NLC, TUC and Joint Negotiating Council (JNI) embarked on indefinite strike to press home their demands.
The unions had on Tuesday, May 17 issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Governor Ayodele Fayose to pay N512 million being money deducted from their December 2015 salary or face industrial crisis.
However, the nationwide strike declared by its parent body to protest hike in fuel price by the Federal Government in Abuja made them to shift theirs to yesterday.
The unions, after a joint meeting on Tuesday, May 24 issued another 48 hours to the governor on the need to comply with some of their demands to avert crisis. The ultimatum lapsed at midnight of Wednesday.
When Daily Sun visited the state secretariat along New Iyin Road and the old governor’s office at Oke Ori Omi, both in Ado Ekiti, the offices were shut. Only a handful of political appointees were seen doing skeletal works in their offices.
A statement signed by Chairmen of TUC and NLC as well as JNI Secretary Odunayo Adesoye, Ade Adesanmi and Oladele Blessing respectively, said the strike became the last resort after they had displayed uncommon understanding over the state’s financial status.
The workers’ demands include the release of the staff audit and verification conducted in April 2015, disclosure of the monthly internally generated revenue, payment of arrears of salaries pension and gratuities, payment of September 2014 salary to primary school teachers, payment of 2014 and 2015 leave bonuses.
Others are implementation of promotion for 2013, 2014 and 2015, approval of inter-cadre transfer, remission of 10 percent IGR to local government and stoppage of Joint Allocation Committee’s account, resuscitation of council staff pension fund and release of running grants to secondary schools and coincils.
Reacting to the strike in a televised broadcast yesterday, Fayose said the state was facing serious financial crisis that may not enable it meet certain responsibilities immediately.
He said workers’ monthly wage bill is currently over N2 billion whereas federal allocation keeps reducing from almost N3 billion to as low as N751 million in April.
“Even before going on their strike, I got to know that many of them no longer come to office while many others were coming late to office, but why I refused to come hard on those involved was that I had no moral justification to do so since I know we are owing them.
“I cannot stop workers from going on strike, we shall be waiting till when they come back, but, they must realise that strike is not the best option
“Even in Government House, we don’t have money to power generators with diesel, whereas, I cannot sell myself or members of my family to raise funds; things are that difficult,” Fayose said. The Sun