Ogun Workers’ Strike: Group Cautions TUC/NLC against political agitation

Ogun Workers’ Strike: Group Cautions TUC/NLC against political agitation

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 9:38 pm



A pro-democracy group, the Campaign for Good Governance, has criticized the labour unions in Ogun for calling on the state workforce to proceed on an indefinite strike from tomorrow (Thursday, 20 October, 2016).

The group described the call as politically- motivated, especially coming on the heels of a reported meeting by some of the union leaders with opposition politicians at the last World Teachers’ Day.

The state government had on Tuesday, through a statement by the Secretary to the Government, Barr Taiwo Adeoluwa, described the proposed strike as patently illegal and robed in politics, threatening to invoke the “no work, no pay” clause of the Trade Dispute Act.

According to a press release signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Ganiyu Lasisi, the Campaign for Good Governance said, “The industrial action is not about non payment of salary as no worker is being owed salary by the Amosun administration. This agitation can only be politically-induced as no reasonable union will call out workers on a strike sorely on cooperative deductions, especially during the current economic downturn in Nigeria.”

Lasisi said the Trade Union Congress, which a few months ago honoured Governor Ibikunle Amosun at the national level with the Excellence Award in Leadership in recognition of his being labour-friendly, should not be seen to recant so soon, noting that the union should not simultaneously approbate and reprobate.

“At the risk of being dubbed the government mouthpiece, we hasten to say that the current government of Ibikunle Amosun pays above the Minimum Wage and we stand to be corrected, it is the only government in Nigeria that implemented the increment across board and up to the level of local government. The current posturing may push the government to rue the decision, which ballooned the monthly wage such that the worker in Ogun State earns more than its counterpart in any part of the federation, and the payment of gratuities to retirees from 2008, three clear years before it was inaugurated.”

As we have had cause to intervene in the past, “While it continues to receive its monthly salary as and when due, it will amount to gross insensitivity for the workforce, whose number is less than one per cent of the population of Ogun State, to insist that all its demands have to be met when the State whose monthly wage bill is over eight billion naira now receives about one billion naira from the Federation Account. The mere fact that Ogun State continues to pay salaries where many states are unable to do so should constitute some food for thought.

The group opined further that “The socio-economic turmoil in major oil-producing countries like Brazil and Venezuela is an indication that no country is immune from the effects of the slump in global oil prices.

“We believe the majority of workers in Ogun appreciate the devotion of the government to their welfare, including the refusal of the governor to contemplate salary adjustments or right-sizing in the face of the current economic challenges facing the country.

“We urge labour unions to be weary of the antics of desperate politicians in order not to become a tool in their hands by design or default. The timing and comments credited to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at this difficult period in Nigeria raise more questions than answers for anyone familiar with the political calculus in Ogun State. Therefore, the strike should be shelved without any ado,” the group said.

While re-stating the socio-economic transformation of Ogun by the Amosun-led administration as its motivation, the Campaign for Good Governance urged the state government to pursue its diversification programme, especially in the agriculture sector, with deliberate speed and single-minded commitment so that sooner than anticipated the state could return to an even keel financially.

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