35 workers, pensioners die due to unpaid wages, Ondo labour says
• State Assembly appeals for fresh negotiations
Organised Labour in Ondo State said 35 workers and pensioners have died of hardship due to the non-payment of five months salaries and pensions arrears by the Ondo State government.
The state House of Assembly has however appealed for fresh negotiations to end the two weeks old industrial strike declared by Labour.
Organised Labour disclosed this yesterday during a meeting at the state Assembly, threatening that if the government refused to settle their demands before Friday (tomorrow), they will embark on protest rally to Abuja.
Chairman of Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Mr. Sunday Adeleye, thanked leadership of the Assembly for its intervention but said the meeting was belated.
Adeleye lamented the protracted delay in salary payment, saying this is has inflicted untold hardship on the workers, who he said have no other means of survival.
He added that the non-payment of salaries has crippled the state, asking the state government to stop all capital projects so that workers can receive their salaries.
“I must inform you that there is high level of hunger in our society and if we are not careful, there may be civil uprising, which will not be palatable,” Adeleye warned.
Also, the Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Sola Ekundayo, decried the situation, which has lasted for 15 days. He said this is the longest industrial strike in the state and will not end till the government yields to their demands.
Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Mrs. Bosede Daramola, accused the Assembly of being insensitive to workers’ plight, saying it is disheartening that the lawmakers did not respond to series of letters written to them.
Daramola noted that some states still pay their workers despite the prevalent economic challenges, emphasizing that Ondo State must not be an exception.
Speaker of the state Assembly, Mrs. Jumoke Akindele, stated that: “We are deeply concerned about the situation on ground, but we should look for ways out of the situation and forge ahead.”
She assured the workers that the leadership of the House will present their grievances before the state government, saying appropriate action will be taken as recommended by workers’ union.