Labour’s three days strike illegal, unilateral, unwarranted ―Oyo govt

Ajimobi, education, health
Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi

THE Oyo state government has asked the labour centres in the state to shelve its ongoing three days warning strike, describing the industrial action as absolutely illegal, unilateral, unwarranted and unjustifiable.

Especially, the state government warned that it would invoke the “no work, no pay” rule on any worker in the state who absents himself from work in joining the strike.

As contained in a statement by Secretary to the state government, Mr Olalekan Alli, the government said it had been fulfilling its responsibilities, commitments and functions as well as using its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Credits and Grants to meet the yearnings of the people of the state, as expected.

“Government views the unilateral declaration of a 3-day warning strike by Labour as absolutely illegal, unwarranted and unjustifiable.  Government hereby appeals to Labour to shelve its illegal, unilateral industrial action.”

“Similarly, Government enjoins all workers in the State not to absent themselves from duty, as doing so will attract the no-work-no-pay rule according to the Trade Dispute Act 2010 Section43(1)(a).”

The three labour centres in Oyo state, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) had directed workers in the state to stay off their duty posts for three days, starting yesterday (Wednesday) in solidarity with lingering strike of the state-owned tertiary institutions, the sack of 256 members of staff of Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, unpaid pensions and gratuities of retired primary school teachers accumulating to 56 months, and stall in workers’ promotion since 2010.

In advancing its position on the situation at tertiary institutions, the state government maintained that it was not to pay salaries of those workers, but only expected to give subventions from which the institutions were at liberty to decide how to apply those funds.

On further actions, the state government said it had mandated the recently constituted governing councils of the institutions to make the schools sustainable and viable.

On accumulated pensions and gratuities, the state government said that while the government, on assumption of office in 2011, inherited Local Government Pension arrears totalling N4,736,741,934.49,  it had disbursed pensions and gratuity of retired primary school teachers to the tune of  N11,729,534,282.54.”

The statement further read, “Government has consistently honoured its obligations to Labour by ensuring monthly salaries are paid from the 100% FAAC allocation to the State and the Budget Support Fund including over 70% of other receivables (Excess Crude and Paris Club Reimbursement  despite the Federal Government advice of 50% payment therefrom for salaries).”

“Salaries and pensions of workers at the State level have been paid up till and including November 2017 with only one (1) month salary and pension (December 2017)  outstanding.”

“Meanwhile, to avert further build up and eliminate the hardship arising therefrom, the Contributory Pension Scheme has been adopted as a solution to effectively address the issue.”

“By the laws setting up the tertiary institutions, Government is not responsible for the payment of salaries of workers in those institutions.  In order to assist them, Government is only obliged to grant the tertiary institutions subventions, which each institution would apply to whichever area of need that its Governing Council and Management may decide upon.

“The recent forensic audit reports on the tertiary institutions revealed many shortcomings such as inefficiencies, leakages, poor management, and other ineptitudes.

“Some institutions were even declared unsustainable and unviable. The consultant further recommended their closure.  However, the recently constituted Governing Councils have been mandated to review their statuses and act suitably.”

Meanwhile, there was compliance to the strike as several workers stayed away from their offices across Ministries, Departments and Agencies at State Secretariat while public schools’ teachers also stayed away from classes such that students were turned back home from school.

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