OYO WORKERS RESUME STRIKE OVER NEW WAGE
The strike was announced at the state secretariat of the NLC, by the Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council, Mr. Nurudeen Arowolo with the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Bahir Olanrewaju and Bayo Ajayi, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC.
According to the workers, the strike became necessary because the Senator Abiola Ajimobi -led government reneged on its promise to pay the workers N13, 400.
The strike took immediate effect and as a result, workers who had earlier gone to their offices yesterday left for home after the strike was announced.
Arowolo told newsmen that the state Governor had initially agreed to adopt the 'Ekiti state Model' of N13,400 which the workers did not object to, but the government suddenly made a u-turn and said it could only afford N10,200.
He said, 'It is quite unfortunate that Oyo State Government is celebrating mediocrity and backwardness in the matter of staff welfare by advertising its decision to perpetually consign its workforce to the league of states that are paying the worst salary'.
But, Ajimobi reacted through his Senior Special Assistant on Public Communication, Dr. Adedayo that the state government viewed the action of the workers in the state with great suspicion.
He said 'Second, it is public knowledge that Oyo State is about the only state in Nigeria that has paid the N18,000 minimum wage across board for the month of May. We expected commendation from the public and our workers for this onerous feat, even when oil-producing states have not done that', the governor stated.
The state negotiating team, he noted, had kept on discussing with the labour in the state.
'The last meeting was on July 22 when government agreed to pay the N18,000 minimum wage as agreed upon by the federal government for workers from Level 1 - 6 and agreement reached with labour that Levels 7 upwards would negotiate with their state governments on an accepted table. At that meeting, even though the federal agreement said that payment to Levels 1 - 6 should be paid in arrears from April and Level 7 upwards be paid from August, the Oyo State government, in its magnanimity, has agreed to pay the N18,000 from July.
Because today is August 4 and government cannot fold its arms and allow workers to suffer unduly, especially during this Ramadan period, government decided to pay the salary of July to workers pending the next meeting with the labour leaders, Ajimobi said.
The governor said he was shocked that the labour leaders unilaterally took this action without recourse to due process and in defiance of the spirit of negotiation between them.
'Why would Oyo workers go on strike to press home for a wage increase that is supposed to take effect from August salary? He asked.