Labour rejects half salary for Osun senior workers
TWENTY-FOUR hours after workers in Osun State called off an industrial action and resumed work yesterday, a fresh disagreement might have arisen between the state government and the labour movement over payment of January salaries to the state workforce.
Meanwhile, a group of retirees within the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) have assured the Osun State government of its support in efforts to ensure good governance in the state.
The State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Jacob Adekomi, yesterday disclosed that the government had reneged on an agreement to commence payment of January salaries in full to all cadres of workers.
He said while workers on grade levels 01-07 received full payment of January salaries, other senior officers in the service from grade level 08 and above were paid half month salaries.
Adekomi said this development was unacceptable and against the agreement reached with the government that workers would receive two months salaries for January and February beginning with the release of the January salaries first on Monday.
Briefing reporters yesterday in Osogbo, the NLC boss said workers had rejected the 50 percent salaries offered the senior officials in Osun public service, adding that labour leaders would meet later in the day to discuss the way forward.
The union leader, who accused government of insincerity in the implementation of the agreement noted that the unfolding scenario was not part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the government team with labour leaders on Monday before the strike was called off.
In compliance with the instruction by the labour movement after the Monday agreement however, civil servants resumed for duty in various offices at the Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo yesterday while their counterparts in local councils also complied with the order.
When The Guardian went round offices at the state secretariat and some local councils particularly, Olorunda and Osogbo councils, some workers were seen sitting in their offices while others stood in group outside discussing the issues.
It was learnt that the poor turnout of workers in various offices might be due to alleged failure by some workers to receive alert from their bank for payment of their January salaries but some others confirmed that money had been paid into their bank accounts.
The Guardian learnt that payment of January half salaries to the senior cadre officers might not be unconnected with alleged paucity of fund.
A source, who preferred anonymity within the state chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) said all the state government tried to do was to ensure the available resources are spread to cover all categories of workers in the state while further payment would be made once more money is available.
He noted that Governor Rauf Aregbesola is unhappy with the non-payment of salaries and is making efforts to ensure the welfare of workers is properly attended to.
His words, ‘’The payment of salaries to certain category of workers might have been due to paucity of fund which the state government has been grappling with since July 2013 when there was a sharp drop in revenue accrued to the state. It was when the governor had exhausted the special savings he made to augment payment of salaries that the problem became known to the public.”
The group under the NUP Triangular Group, while paying a solidarity visit to Aregbesola, disclosed that they were opposed to any plot to destabilise the state under the guise of pressing for pensions and salaries.
Specifically, they dissociated themselves from what they called politically motivated protests by a group of people last week, saying such protest was not in the interest of pensioners.
Chairman of the group, Prince Rotimi Adelugba, said it is necessary to dissociate themselves from politically motivated protests said to have been embarked on by some people alleged to be pensioners.
According to him, the Triangular Group, which comprises pensioners in all local councils of Osun, identified the developmental strides of the current administration in the state.
In his words, “We appreciate the good governance and developmental stride of Governor Aregbesola in the past five years.
“We make bold to say that he has been fair to the pensioners, having implemented 142 percent increase in pension from N200 million monthly to N520 million. We express solidarity with the governor and pray that God will help him to steer the ship of the state safely and successfully.”
Aregbesola, while responding, noted that his administration will forever be committed to the welfare of workers and pensioners.
He added that all that happened on the delay in the payment of salaries and pension was occasioned by the fall in the federal allocation due to the state and fall in price of oil in the international market.