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Workers' strike paralyses Ogun State hospitals, schools, courts

By The Citizen

Activities across Ogun State were paralysed Monday following workers' strike in the state.

Civil servants at the state secretariat, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, were chased out by members of the workers union who locked up the secretariat.

All public schools, both primary and secondary, were shut as the teachers in the state began an indefinite strike to press home their demands.

The complaint, according to some of the teachers, include non payment of their deductions of about 5-7 months, unremitted cooperative deduction from the teachers' salary, amongst many other issues.

Findings round the state showed that students were sent back from the schools Monday morning as the workers' union confirmed that the action is indefinite until the state government redeem its own side of the agreement reached at the meeting they had on Tuesday, 26 January, 2016.

In a letter sent to the State Governor, Senator Amosun, dated 1 March, 2016, and signed by Comrade Adebiyi Olusegun, Secretary, Joint Negotiation Council, the council informed the state governor of its readiness to embark on the indefinite strike from Monday, 7 March, 2016.

The letter titled: 'Declaration of Indefinite Strike Action' reads: ' Following the apparent reneging on the commitments of payments of gratuity and remittances of global deductions within twenty one (21) days as contained in MOU signed on Tuesday, 26th Jan., 2016 by the tripartite interests of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, the action commencing from Monday 7th March, 2016, just as we are putting the government on notice of same. '

The letter, according to Mr Azeez Olujimi, Secretary, NUT, Odogbolu local chapter, was addressed to the governor, through the Head of Service and was received at the Oke Mosan governor's office on Thursday, 3 March, 2016, but nothing was done about it.

He confirmed that both the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, chairmen were copied in the letter.

Some of the shut schools visited by our correspondent include Holy Prophet Pry Sch, Adedotun, Abeokuta; NUD Pry School, Ikija; Ikija High School, Iberekodo; AGGS, Onikolobo,;Unity High Sch, Ago- Ika; BBHS Saje, all in Abeokuta.

Also, report from Ijebu Ode, Sagamu, Oru, Ago Iwoye, Ijebu Igbo, Iperu, Ikenne, Ipokia, Owode Yewa, Idiroko, Alaari, Odeda and other parts confirmed that students were sent back home as early as 7:30am.

Also, all state hospitals were locked up in the morning with patients groaning over inability to receive medical attention due to the strike action embarked upon by the health sector in the state.

Our correspondent gathered that the health workers are at loggerheads with the state government over their salary restructure, shortage of staff and ipoor welfare package.

When our correspondent visited the State General Hospital at Ijaye, Abeokuta, Monday morning, patients were seen in twos and threes complaining about the strike action and expressing their displeasure.

An official of the State Ministry of Health, who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that the Health Commissioner, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye was in a meeting with all the stakeholders on Friday at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, OSUTH, Sagamu.

The source explained that the Commissioner had promised to look into all the matters tabled before him and expedite action on them.

Among the complain by the health workers are shortage of staff, salary restructure and welfare package.

According to the source, 'we were at OSUTH till around 6:30pm on Friday where the Commissioner and the Director of Administration and Supply, DAS, Health Ministry, Mr Wale Obasan took their time to explain everything to all the stakeholders.

'What really happened was that the issue of shortfall of staffs has to be addressed after the verification we are doing now. There are some places which are over staffedand some are under staffed. We have to look into that and do the placement to balance the areas, before we can now talk of recruiting more hands to the existing one.

'At the meeting which lasted for about four hours, the Commissioner pleaded with them to be calm as all their issues will be addressed.'

Moving round the state owned hospitals and health care centres across the state on Monday, all of them were shut and patients sent back home.

A similar situation was witnessed at the state High Court and Magistrates' Court located at Isabo area of Abeokuta as lawyers, litigants and others were disappointed seeing the courts locked up.

When our correspondent visited the area, lawyers were seen hanging around, discussing with their clients over the development.

Many of them looked depressed as the strike caught them unawares, according to some lawyers who spoke with our correspondent under anonymity. – The News.