Kogi: Organised Labour Suspends Six-week-old Strike, Signs Agreement with Govt

By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja

Following two weeks marathon meetings, negotiations and subsequent signing of agreement between the State Government and the Labour Leader, the Organised Labour in Kogi State has suspended its six-week-old strike.

The Labour had commenced industrial action to press home their demands from the State Government, following the government’s inability to pay workers. salaries.

The strike action embarked upon by the Organised Labour (Kogi chapter) to press home their demands has been suspended with effect from today, 10th of November, 2017, the workers said.

Rising from the meeting of the Organised Labour and the state government in the office of the Deputy Governor, the chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kogi State, Comrade Onu Edoka said the labour union decided to suspend the strike having entered in to agreement with government as according to him, both parties agreed to honour the agreement.

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In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor of kogi state, Akor Sylvester, said the following agreements were signed after much consultations by both parties to bring about lasting peace between the workers and government.

Part of the agreement signed by the parties reads: “That the ‘clock-  in  and  out’ machine which Government   instituted   as   electronic Attendance Register would be test-run for the next   three (3)   months   starting   from   10th November,   2017   and   ending   10th  February, 2018   during   which   its   efficiency   and functionality   will   be   determined   by   a Committee   comprising   Government   and Organized   Labour   representatives.

“That   the print-out   of   the   machine   and   the   existing manual   Attendance   Register   will   be juxtaposed   on   monthly   basis   by   the   said committee   to   determine   the   degree   of efficiency of the ‘clock-in and out’ machine.

“That   the Committee   of   Government   and   Organized Labour   are   to   discuss   with   the   view   of resolving all the Grey areas and Peculiarities surrounding the system, while a Desk Officer in   each   MDA   be   appointed   to   handle   the records.

“That  on   no  account   would   the   machine   be used to determine the payment of salaries to workers until the Committee of Government and Organized Labour adjudged the efficiency of the machine after the expiration of the three(3) months in February, 2018.

“That   the   payment   of   salary   and   pension   to workers   and   pensioners   respectively   for   the month   of   August   2017   would   be   full   and comprehensive i.e All cleared staff including the   pardoned   staff   and   the   Omitted/New retirees will be pay-rolled and paid their full month salary and pension respectively on or before Friday 17th November, 2017, while all   cases  of   arrears   of salaries and  pensions will   be   scheduled   for payment as  funds   are available based on the understanding between Labour and Government”.

On the Contributory Pension Scheme, the parties agreed that since it is mandatory by law that workers should key into the scheme, and the Bill to domesticate the law is before the State House of Assembly. It was agreed that all grey areas   noticed   by   Organized   Labour   be presented at a Public Hearing to be conducted by   the   State   House   of  Assembly.

The parties further agreed that “organised Labour should specifically be invited for this purpose. Also, Government and Labour agreed to work within the confine of the law.

It was unanimously agreed that the Wholistic Report of the Screening Exercise with detailed analysis   of   the   fully   cleared   and   un-cleared workers MDA by MDA be made available to the   organized   labour   within   two   weeks.

“On PAYE, it was agreed by the parties that Government should execute the PAYE within the confines of the existing law. It   was   also agreed   that   all   cases   of   arrears   of promotions   of   2013   be   released   to   the beneficiaries   immediately,   while   the   process for promotions for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 be put in place,” the statement said.

More so, that the   Annual   Leave   Bonus   and   Annual Increment should be scheduled in line with the availability of funds.

On  all other  workers   demands  i.e.  Weigh-in allowance to media workers, implementation of CONHESS  to Health Sector workers and 27.5% Teachers Specific Allowance were all noted for subsequent action by government.

“On 2015 employment, Government promised to   look   into  the   plea   of   labour   as   the   need arises. It was agreed that a Standing Committee of Government   and   Labour   Representatives   be put   in   place   to   interface   regularly   to   avoid incessant conflicts.”

Labour and government also agreed   that   no   worker   shall   be victimized   or   punished   for   any   role   or perceived   role   played   in   the   course   of   the strike action.

In   view   of   the   above,  the organised labour therefore suspended the   strike   action embarked   upon   by   the workers with effect from Friday,10th November 2017.

Speaking, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Elder Simon Achuba who led the government side in the agreement signing thanked the labour leaders for their understanding and said the government is ever ready to work with them.

He commended Governor Yahaya Bello for providing the opportunity for the dispute to be resolved, praying God to continue to guide and protect him at all times.

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