Ogun State workers have vowed to begin an indefinite strike on Thursday if the state government does not pay them deductions from their salaries and other allowances.
The Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, in conjunction with Trade Union Congress, TUC, and the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, made the declaration on Monday at a press conference in Abeokuta.
The press conference, addressed by Abiodun Olakanmi, Olubunmi Fajobi and Akeem Ambali, at the Nigeria Union of Journalists’ Press Centre, was called to serve a “last warning,” following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum by the labour unions to the state government.
Mr. Olakanmi said the unions had embarked on strike in March but suspended it following the intervention of the State House of Assembly, traditional rulers and other prominent citizens in the state.
He said the workers would resume the strike, unless the state government met their demands and honoured various agreements reached in the course of the dispute.
The workers are asking the government to immediately pay outstanding 12 months unions check off dues, stop contributory pension deductions, and pay 12 months of other deductions, which include bank loans’ repayment, co-operatives’ savings, Ileya/festivals savings and gradual payment of retirees gratuities.
“Without the state government attending to these demands, the industrial action we are embarking on come Thursday will not be called off nor be suspended,” Mr. Olakanmi stated.
“We view the inaction of the Ogun State government as being deliberate, calculative and designed to make the civil servants poorer”, he stressed.
Mr. Olakanmi said a worker had died in the state “due to lack of money”. He added, that “workers can no longer tolerate the bluff of the state government, while most of them agonize in silence”.
The state NLC chairman, Mr. Ambali, said the workers have suffered enough.
“It is a total strike. If they call us we will not answer”.
He said the workers were prepared to forfeit one month salary in order for their deductions to be paid.
The Chairman of the TUC, Mr. Fajobi, said the state government had on numerous occasions reneged on agreements with workers.
“We have been humiliated to the extent that many can’t feed their families, many can’t pay their children’s school fees and take care of themselves. Everybody has agreed to go on the strike,” Mr. Fajobi said.
When contacted, the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, said the state government was yet to receive notice of the strike.
“The Government is yet to receive the notice. It is when they serve us that we can respond”, he said.
“It is strange. As I speak to you, we don’t know they (workers) want to go on strike. It is when they serve us with their communication that we will know their grounds.
“We are not owing any salary, there is no ground for strike”, Mr. Adeoluwa said.