A stalemate occurred on Monday as the Ondo State Government and labour unions disagreed on the request by the government to pay workers’ salaries in part due to the insufficiency of the Paris Club refunds.
The meeting was called after labour petitioned the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, rejecting his proposal to pay 80 per cent of salaries of all workers given that what was available was inadequate to pay full one-month salaries.
The government had in July confirmed that it received N6.7 billion as its share of the second tranche of the Paris Club refund.
The government’s modalities for sharing was that 75 per cent of the funds would be spent in paying salaries and pensions, while the other 25 per cent would go for capital projects and other expenditures.
The workers are being owed five months of unpaid salaries inherited from the last government, which is between September 2015 and January 2017.
In the letter to the governor signed by union leaders, Bosede Daramola of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Sola Ekundayo of the Trade Union Congress and Sunday Adeleye of the Joint Negotiating Council urged the state government to make up the shortfall in the Paris Club money from other sources to pay workers.
They also said if the government would not get funds from other sources, then it should pay full salaries to workers that the funds could pay.
“Modulated payment or fractional payment in whatever form is unacceptable to Ondo State public servants and pensioners,” the letter read.
“It is mandatory that the state government should look inward to augment and pay the September 2016 salary in full to all workers and pensioners in the state.”
PREMIUM gathered that the state government represented its proposal to the unions at the meeting, and insisted it was the way forward.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES after the meeting on Monday, the chairperson of the NLC in the state, Mrs. Daramola, said “nothing came out of the meeting.”
According to her, the workers had already declared their position in the letter to the governor, and that remained the position.
She said Ondo workers would not accept the Osun experience where salaries were paid to workers in percentages.
“It cannot happen here, we will not accept it here,” Mrs. Daramola declared.
She also said the unions were prepared to continue to dialogue with the state government if calls were made for further discussions.
“We are prepared to continue the discussions, we are waiting. If they call us we will be there to discuss the issues,” she added.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Segun Ajiboye, confirmed that the meeting held, saying the government was still discussing with members of the organised labour in the state.
Mr. Ajiboye told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that it was the state government’s position that all the funds would not be used in paying salaries as other sectors of the public needed to benefit from the funds.
“The unions want the government to pay salaries with all the money,” Mr. Ajiboye said.
“But the government believes and is saying that other members of the public should also benefit.”
He added that the government would continue the dialogue with the unions, saying the meeting might continue on Tuesday for further deliberations.