The executive and legislature in Ogun State appear to have taken different positions on the strike by civil servants in the state.
While the state lawmakers are appealing to workers to end the one-week-old strike, the executive has threatened to implement the “no work, no pay,” policy from Monday.
The House of Assembly, in a statement made available by its Head of Information, Lawal Jamiu, on Sunday resolved to intervene in the dispute over the non-remittance of deductions in workers’ salary.
The statement added that at a meeting with the labour leaders, led by the Chairman of the state chapter of the Joint National Negotiating Council, Abiodun Olakanmi, the leadership of the House led by the Speaker, Suraju Adekunbi, called for the suspension of the strike to allow it look into the matter with a view to fashioning out a lasting solution to the dispute.
The Assembly blamed the situation on the global oil price, saying the APC-led government in the state is a labour friendly one.
It asked the union leaders to give the House the opportunity of bringing both the government and labour to the negotiating table to find a common ground around the logjam.
“It is hoped that with the intervention of the House, Labour will reciprocate the good gesture of the Assembly by toeing the line of amiable resolution of the dispute soonest”, the Speaker was quoted as saying.
However, unlike the lawmakers, the Executive ordered the workers back to work on Monday, with a declaration that failure to heed the directive will be punished.
The order was contained in a statement by the Head of Service, Sola Adeyemi, declaring that government would invoke ‘no work, no pay’ rule on workers who fail to resume duties from Monday.
”The Ogun State Government has invoked the ‘no work no pay’ rule of the Trade Dispute Act in relation to the ongoing industrial action by its workforce,” Mr. Adeyemi said.
“Consequently, the State Government has directed all workers to be at their duty posts from Monday, March 14, 2016.”
According to the statement, “the application of the ‘no work, no pay’ rule followed the refusal of the striking workers to heed appeals from government and well-meaning indigenes of the state and the refusal of the labour unions to consider all entreaties to end the industrial action so that the state might be in a position to generate resources for the benefit of the workers and generality of the citizens.
“Section 43 (1) (a) of the Trade Dispute Act, provides that ‘Where any worker takes part in a strike action, he shall not be entitled to any wages or other remuneration for the period of the strike, and such period shall not count for the purpose of reckoning the period of continuous employment and all rights dependent on continuity of employment shall be prejudicially affected accordingly’, government pointed out.
“Despite the fact that the State Government has been consistent with payment of workers’ salaries as and when due and has paid workers up to February 2016, with a promise to meet other demands once the finances of the state improved, union leaders went ahead to call out workers on a strike on March 7, 2016 and physically prevented majority of the employees, who reported for duties, from gaining access to their offices, ‘the statement said.
“Government will not yield to pressure to downsize or reduce salaries of its workforce as being suggested in some quarters. This is the reason why government employees should be in their offices. Government reaffirms its commitment to the welfare of its workers and calls for their understanding during the current economic downtown in Nigeria.”
In its response to the directive, the leadership of the striking workers have said that no amount of intimidation from government would make them return to work until all their demands are met.
The workers at a rally held at the NLC secretariat said they would protest to the governor’s office on Monday.