Local government workers in Ekiti are planning to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from Thursday this week, following the non-payment of their salary arrears.
The council workers complained that the outgoing governor was not committed to paying the backlogs as his tenure ends in October.
The workers under the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees(NULGE), reached the decision to embark on the strike at an emergency NULGE State Executive Council (SEC) meeting held on Friday at the union secretariat along Iyin Road, Ado Ekiti.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, NULGE condemned Mr Fayose’s intention to employ 2,000 new workers when those who are already in the system were owed arrears of salaries.
“The NULGE, Ekiti State Branch, at its meeting held on Friday, 17th August, 2018, wish to remind the government that out of the four demands of the union, in its communiqué issued on 25th July, 2018, only one of them was partially attended to; which is less than five per cent of our total demands,” the communiqué stated.
“The union wishes to reiterate that in spite of our agitation, the government only paid up to December 2017 salary leaving seven (7) months yet unpaid.
“It is evident now that the government is insensitive to the workers’ plight because the union has it on good authority that the government is planning to add to the burden of the local governments by recruiting more hands to the teaching sector.
“In view of the above, the State Executive Council (SEC) in session therefore directs all members of the union to stay at home indefinitely from Thursday, 23rd August, 2018 until further directives by the union.”
The Ekiti State Government confirmed that it received the notice of the strike late on Saturday.
Lere Olayinka, the media adviser to the state governor, told PREMIUM TIMES that the government would look into the matter on Monday when work resumes.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ekiti State, has said the attempt by Mr Fayose to increase the workforce by well over 2,000, is not only an afterthought, but an act of wickedness and insensitivity to the plights of Ekiti people.
In a statement in Ado-Ekiti, the party’s Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, said the party could not fathom the rationality to hire additional hands.
It said this was inexplicable especially when the governor had always complained of not having money to pay workers who were owed salaries arrears of between six and 10 months while pensioners had not been paid for 11 months.
He warned that the incoming administration would not accept Mr Fayose’s plot to destroy Ekiti State and her people.
“It is on record that Fayose has run Ekiti aground having subjected the state to N117 billion debts with nothing to show for them except enriching himself and immediate family,” it said.
“How can one explain or justify fresh recruitment when workers are being owed between six months and ten months of unpaid wages while pensioners have not received one kobo for close to a year?
“Given the fiscal challenges, huge wage burden and backlog of unpaid salaries faced by EKiti State under Fayose’s administration, any staff recruitment at this stage should be considered an act of sabotage to destabilise the new government and keep the state in perpetual financial imbalance and we warn here that we understand this Fayose’s act of sabotage, which shall never, ever stand.
“If Fayose truly loves Ekiti people, he should make as a priority the payment of outstanding salaries, pensions and wages and not any fresh recruitment of workers with no hope of salary payment in a civil service state that runs her economy through payment of salary.”
Mr Fayose had justified the new recruitment, saying there was a ‘gap’ for new teachers and that the process of employing new workers was already ongoing.
He had argued that as long as he remained governor, he would continue to carry out his responsibilities, “including hiring workers when necessary”.
Mr Fayose had also accused Mr Fayemi of employing workers a few weeks before leaving office in 2014 when he (Fayemi) was governor.