Protesting workers in Oyo State, on Monday, locked the state secretariat in Agodi, Ibadan, to demand palliatives, upward review of pension allowances and refund of monies deducted from their salaries in the past.
The protesters were drawn from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and their affiliates.
Led by their union leaders, the workers also demanded payment of leave bonuses, payment of gratuities to retirees and release of promotion letters for the Years 2021 and 2022.
The protest made vehicular movement uneasy around the governor’s office.
At the protest ground, the chairperson of TUC, Bosun Olabiyi, listed their grouses to include the failure of the government to remit deductions from their salaries for cooperatives, and other statutory commitments, among other concerns in the face of current economic hardship caused by fuel subsidy removal necessitated their action.
He said the union leaders had explored all mechanisms towards an amicable resolution of the dis[ute but yielded no fruit.
He said various attempts to discuss with the governor on the matters had been unfruitful as the government had continued to abuse the rules of engagement.
Mr Olabiyi said: “We are here to see the governor. We believe that our demands are before him. There is a six months deduction that the state government has withheld. Deductions that are supposed to go to cooperatives, housing, union dues, taken from workers’ salaries, have been withheld.
“This issue of deductions has been on for almost a year. At the January prayer meeting, he promised to pay for two months and that two months was not even paid until the end of the month when there was some agitation. Since then, it has again been accumulating.”
Also speaking, the NLC chairman in the state, Kayode Martins, said the state organised labour union had been misrepresented in its dialogue with the government, hence the need to have an understanding with the governor in person to resolve their agitations.
“There has been a lot of communication gap between us and our governor. We insist we want to see him. Many a time, our demands have been misrepresented, we are being misquoted to the governor, so we want to see him clear the air so that the harmonious relationship between the workers and the government will persist in the state.
“In the event that the governor does not show up to address us, we go back home, we meet and draw the next line of action,” Mr Martins said.
In its reaction, the state government requested dialogue on the salary issue with the leadership of the NLC in the state.
The government in a statement made available to journalists by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Dotun Oyelade, said the workers are owed only three months’ deductions and not six months.
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