Wednesday, March 30, 2016 5:22 pm
The government of Abiola Ajimobi in Oyo State has debunked the claim by labour leaders that it has reneged on the payment of salaries to workers.
On the contrary, the government said it has kept faith with the agreement that 90 per cent of federal allocation be devoted to workers salaries, while 10 per cent is devoted to other sectors.
However, government said it is ready to dialogue with labour on Thursday to thrash out issues.
On Tuesday, the organized labour in the state gave a seven-day ultimatum to government to settle a five month salary arrears. They threaten to embark on strike if government fails to pay them.
Government’s reaction was contained in a statement issued by Yomi Layinka, Special Adviser on Media to the governor.
The statement reads in part:
“The attention of the Oyo State Government has been drawn to media reports insinuating disharmony between the state government and the state branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress over payment of salary arrears.
“To say the least, the unfortunate situation foisted on the country by the dwindling accruals from oil, the country’s major source of revenue, is a major concern to all and sundry and it is highly regrettable.
“While the government empathises with workers and pensioners over the attendant inability to pay salaries and other emoluments as it usually did in the past, we solicit continued understanding of the Labour over the matter.
“Meanwhile, it is important to note that leadership of the Labour Unions and the state government have had a very robust understanding on this matter long before now, following which an agreement was signed on the modality for the payment of salaries as finances are available
“Indeed, the options of reduced salaries and reduction in an otherwise bloated workforce were considered but deferred in concession to the workers; instead a staggered salary payment strategy was proposed by Labour and acceded to by Government.
“To this end, it was agreed that about 90 per cent of income accruing from the State’s monthly allocation from the Federation Account should be dedicated to the workers while the remaining ten percent would be deployed to the running of other aspects of governance.
“Till date, the state government has not reneged on the letter and spirit of that agreement. The ultimatum issued by Labour is therefore not only surprising but unnecessary and uncalled-for in the prevailing circumstance.
“Meanwhile, the governor has since authorised a meeting scheduled for this Thursday with the Labour leaders. So, we can only urge workers and their leadership to allow reason to prevail by not truncating the industrial harmony currently existing within the state.
“As principal stakeholders in the affairs of the state, the government is open to dialogue with Labour and such other equally critical stakeholders on this and any other issue that may arise in the future especially on how best to move our dear state forward and regenerate its fortunes”.