Posted by By AKEEB ALARAPE, Ibadan on
Government activities once again came to a halt in Oyo State as civil servants fully complied with the strike ordered at their enlarged congress held last Friday. The state’s Head of Service (HOS), Mrs. Bola Obileye, however, debunked the claim of the workers over what accrued to the state as its internally generated revenue (IGR) while pleading with them to resume talks with the government.
Government activities once again came to a halt in Oyo State as civil servants fully complied with the strike ordered at their enlarged congress held last Friday.
The state’s Head of Service (HOS), Mrs. Bola Obileye, however, debunked the claim of the workers over what accrued to the state as its internally generated revenue (IGR) while pleading with them to resume talks with the government.
The workers had resolved to embark on another industrial action to protest the decision of the Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala administration to pay the N9, 400 minimum wage only to junior workers on Grade levels 1 to 6.
On Monday the civil servants had earlier gone on strike on June 26, which lasted for 35 days before the new Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade 1, appealed to them to return to the negotiation table with the state government.
On Friday, labour leaders in the state accused the government of being dishonest with its claim that the state purse could not accommodate the new salary increment across board, saying that the minimum wage could be conveniently paid.
On Monday, the state secretariat was a ghost of itself while all public schools, health institutions and local government secretariats were under lock and key.
The labour leaders also shunned a meeting called on Monday by the government to further look into the issue as the workers accused the state of coercing them to resume work by applying for a motion exparte from the court to stall the strike.
But the number one worker in the state, the Head of Service, made frantic efforts to appeal to the aggrieved workers at a meeting held with senior staff from Grade levels 10 and above at the House of Chiefs in Agodi.
According to Obileye, the labour leaders’ claim on the internally generated revenue could not be substantiated as she said that there were no traces of money accruing from quarries and asphalt plants in the state to any government accounts as claimed by the labour leaders.
She also picked hole in the decision of the workers to embark on fresh industrial action while talks with the state government were yet to be concluded.
According to her, the state government only charged haulage fees from the private sector operators of the quarry and asphalt plants, but that such money could not be traced to any government or individual account in the state.
"If they know who is or has been collecting this money or the account it is being paid into, they should tell us. We are all stakeholders in this state. We should work for its development," Obileye said.
But Chairman, Joint Negotiation Committee (JNC) of the workers, Comrade Nurudeen Arowolo, dismissed the claims of the HOS, accusing the state government of being overshadowed by ego in effecting the new minimum wage.
According to him, Governor Akala had told them that he could not see reason why he would swallow what he said earlier by acceding to the workers’ demands on the new salary scale during one of the technical committee meetings.
"Governor Akala told us during a meeting with him that ego has crept into the matter. He asked us how we want him to say something and then swallow it. So, it is unfortunate. We know there are leakages in the revenue of government but if the government cannot trace the source of the revenue from the quarries and those collecting them, then something is wrong somewhere," Arowolo stated.
Daily Sun learnt on Monday that the state government has filed applications in three state High Courts in the state for a motion exparte to compel the workers to resume work.
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