Another round of industrial crisis looms in Kogi State as the organised labour on Wednesday threatened to resume their suspended strike over failure of government to honour the agreement reached with them.
The workers also accused the present administration in the state of turning civil service into casual work with the introduction of some rules that were synonymous with “close-shop companies.”
According to a letter of notice of strike addressed to the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the seven-day ultimatum for the industrial action would lapse on friday, September 22, following which the workers would begin the strike.
The letter signed by the chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Ranti Ojo, particularly said the strike would commence because of government’s failure to pay salaries and other entitlements of the workers.
The unions noted that the strike notice was sequel to the expiration of the time lag given to government within which to pay the July 2017 salary and to reverse some of the newly introduced rules that were not in tandem with the civil service rules.
The workers demanded among other things, “That government should as a matter of urgency, rescind its decision on clocking in and out policy in the public service of Kogi state, which aims at casualising the service on daily pay basis. This negates the provisions of National Councils on Establishment’s principles and practices guiding the civil service in the country.
“In addition, workers of Kogi State are not miners or workers of close-shop companies like Dangote, Nasco Groups of Companies, whose workers clock in and out. We find it extremely difficult to comprehend the issue, because government that could not fulfil its obligations to workers is out on a witch-hunting mission on monitoring and compelling workers with a draconian policy of clock in and out.
“That government should as a matter of urgency rescind its punitive policy of contributory pension scheme, as it will be difficult for government to pay its counterpart funding because salaries are not being paid regularly.”
The unions also wanted government to implement the collective agreement entered into with them on August 1, 2016 without any further delay, adding that government should pay the arrears of salaries to all pardoned workers in the state, local government, primary school teachers and local government education authority staff from January 2016 to August 2017.
The letter added, “That your Excellency should as a matter of concern, make your words, your bond by ensuring that the clemency granted to various categories of workers comes to the limelight, because we find it difficult to actually clarify the dictates of your words as we observed that someone somewhere is tinkering with your directive or rather moderating your directive. Therefore, labour demands the immediate pay-rolling and payment of salaries and the arrears of the affected workers”.
The workers however restated their rejection of the half salary paid to them by the government in July, demanding full payment of July and August salaries.
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