By James Ogunnaike
The Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council of Ogun State has threatened to resume its September 2020 suspended strike over what it described as “haphazard implementation of the 18 September, 2020 MoU” signed between the Organised Labour and the state government.
This was contained in a resolution issued at the end of an emergency meeting held last Friday, a copy obtained by our correspondent, to analyse content and implementation of the MoU entered into by the state government with the Civil/Public employees of Ogun State on issues that bother mainly on their welfare.
In the resolution signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Council, Folorunso Olanrewaju and Adebiyi Olusegun respectively, accused the state government of reneging on the implementation of the agreement signed with workers which were based on their welfare.
It noted that the Council was miffed that out of the items on the widely publicized MoU, only the New Minimum Wage was effected on 1st October, 2020 as agreed.
It expressed shock that despite nearly twelve months delay in the commencement of the implementation of the new minimum wage, the state government neither spoke on payment of arrears nor readiness to.
The Council added that the promise by the state government to earmark on quarterly basis, half a billion naira for the payment of gratuity which it pledged to start by January, 2021 has been found to be unfounded.
The resolution reads: “Retirees of the both the state and of the local governments have continued to groan in misery even as some have died in utter regret ever serving the state.
“The process leading to the implementation of promotions of 2018, 2019, 2020 with 2021 falling due in July have only manifested in the rhetoric rather than in reality.
“Precisely two weeks back, 2020 Pension Amendment Bill got the hurried measure with subtle blackmail of the Organised Labour that the quicker the amendment is passed, the earlier the state government will access its much sought bond, part of which, as peddled by the State government, will be allocated to offsetting arrears of gratuity of retirees. Clearly the State government is manipulating sides to buy time.
“Backlog of unpaid leave allowances for up to seven years now have largely being ignored. The current administration owes two years out of the accumulated unpaid allowances.
“Further, deductions from workers’ into the dysfunctional Contributory Pension Scheme continue unabated. Neither deductions made from workers salaries nor that of the State/Local Governments counterpart had been remitted so far even by the current administration. The current administration owes precisely the equal months since assumption of office.
“The organized labour alleged that the State government thought it best to stifle life out of the economically struggling workers by deliberately witholding their voluntary savings. No doubt, the self-funded super structures of ubiquitous, age-old Cooperative system have collapsed in the state.
“It should be noted that the current administration inherited zero unremitted cooperative deductions from workers voluntary savings but has however championed owing same in the last 13 months as at January, 2021”.
“Were the current administration being truthful to its pledges, especially in the payment of workers salary in gross in the first instance, most of these issues would not had manifested. The state government had succeeded in paying lip service to the payment of salaries of workers in full up till now”.
“In view of these myriads of unresolved issues, the Joint Council hereby places the state government on notice that the suspended strike of September, 2020 would be resumed in a matter of days”.
“Workers of the State/Local Governments have had enough of being treated as afterthoughts”.