By Dupe Laniyan
The Oyo State Government has described the 7-day ultimatum given it to pay backlog of salary arrears by Labour in the state is uncalled for.
In a statement by Yomi Layinka, Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy to Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the government said both it and Labour had reached an agreement on the payment of workers’ salaries
Layinka said “till date, the state government has not reneged on the letter and spirit of that agreement. The ultimatum issued by Labour is therefore not only surprising but unnecessary and uncalled-for in the prevailing circumstance.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Oyo State Government has been drawn to media reports insinuating disharmony between the state government and the state branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress over payment of salary arrears.
To say the least, the unfortunate situation foisted on the country by the dwindling accruals from oil, the country’s major source of revenue, is a major concern to all and sundry and it is highly regrettable.
While the government empathizes with workers and pensioners over the attendant inability to pay salaries and other emoluments as it usually did in the past, we solicit continued understanding of the Labour over the matter.
Meanwhile, it is important to note that the leadership of the Labour Unions and the state government have had a very robust understanding on this matter long before now, following which an agreement was signed on the modality for the payment of salaries as finances are available.
“Indeed, the options of reduced salaries and reduction in an otherwise bloated workforce were considered but deferred in concession to the workers; instead a staggered salary payment strategy was proposed by Labour and acceded to by Government.
“To this end, it was agreed that about 90 per cent of income accruing from the State’s monthly allocation from the Federation Account should be dedicated to the workers while the remaining ten percent would be deployed to the running of other aspects of governance.
“Till date, the state government has not reneged on the letter and spirit of that agreement. The ultimatum issued by Labour is therefore not only surprising but unnecessary and uncalled-for in the prevailing circumstance.
“Meanwhile, the governor has since authorized a meeting scheduled for this Thursday with the Labour leaders. So, we can only urge workers and their leadership to allow Reason to prevail by not truncating the industrial harmony currently existing within the state.
“As principal stakeholders in the affairs of the state, the government is open to dialogue with Labour and such other equally critical stakeholders on this and any other issue that may arise in the future especially on how best to move our dear state forward and regenerate its fortunes”.