We weren’t part of Oyo govt/NLC agreement on unpaid salaries —TUC, JNC

• Schedule mass action for next Monday

The Oyo State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Public Service Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) have condemned and dissociated themselves from the July 25, 2016 agreement reached between the state government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that resulted in the just-suspended strike.

The leadership of the two unions described the agreement as inimical to industrial development and dangerous to workers, arguing that they were critical stakeholders in the industrial environment but were not invited to be part of the negotiation process, at any point.

In this light, the acting Chairman of the TUC, Mr Emelieze Andrew, on Monday, said the union would commence an indefinite mass action in the state from August 8, 2016.

Speaking, Emelieze said the scheduled mass action follows an earlier 15-day ultimatum and letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari through state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, dated July 4, 2016, without any reply from the state government. He said the mass action would take the form of some members “occupying” the state secretariat on a daily basis till salaries are paid while others would embark on hunger strike, among other strategies, to drive home their demands.

“If in the next five days workers’ salaries are not paid, TUC in Oyo State will embark on mass action. The resolutions of the NLC and Oyo State government have nothing to do with the TUC. We condemn holistically the unholy alliance that was entered into by the two parties to come up with an unholy document which is inimical to industrial development in Oyo State and dangerous to the workers.

“The agreement means that the Oyo State government is free to pay salaries the way it likes. It also means that the state government is free to sack workers. It is totally condemned by the TUC and is not binding on the senior staff,” Emelieze said.

Also speaking, Oyo Chairman, Public Service Joint Negotiating Council, Mr Olusola Ogundiran, chided the state government for failing to involve the JNC, which he said should be the statutory negotiating body in industrial issues.

“The agreement entered on July 25, 2016 only bastardised the June 25, 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as there was no difference in the agreements. The parties still agreed that the wage bill is N5.2 billion and that the state cannot fulfil its obligations because of dwindling allocation from the Federal Government.

“They have complicated issues when they said ‘there should be sacrifices from both sides’.

“The agreement only mentioned salaries for January and February. We don’t know what happens after January and February. A lot of what was contained in the agreement should be the prerogative of the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council. The JNC believes that its jurisdiction has been encroached,” Ogundiran said.