Tunde Oyekola, Osogbo.
Osun State may again witness another round of industrial unrest as the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC), on Friday, said workers in the state will not accept payment of half salary for the month of March as being proposed by the state government.
The council comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria
Union of Teachers (NUT) among others, in a communique issued in Osogbo after an emergency meeting held to x-ray the position of government regarding how workers will be paid their outstanding salaries in Osogbo, said the mode of payment being proposed by government contravened the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by the parties involved.
According to the council, the MOU “stipulated that all outstanding salaries of workers in the state will be paid from the bail out when it is released by the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
But the state Head of Service, Mr. Sunday Owoeye, had on Wednesday, while responding to issues relating to the payment of workers salaries on a radio programme monitored in Osogbo, said government had directed that half of March salary be paid to civil servants, the pensioners would be paid half of outstanding December pension while local government staff would also receive May, June and July outstanding salaries.
However JPSNC in its communiqué said, “it was on record that bail out funds of N34.988 billion was released to this state on Thursday 3rd of September, 2015 according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele and instead of government fulfilling her own side of the deal by carrying out section 3(f) of MoU signed with the labour on the 13th and 29th July respectively, reverse was the case.
“The information released through the Head of Service on the payment of outstanding salaries on Wednesday was completely opposite the spirit of existing MoU which had generated a palpable tension among the workers and all the entire people living in Osun State.
“That government should effect immediate implementation of the MoU signed on Monday 13th July, 2015.
“That labour movements in the state reject in its entirety the payment of half salary as announced by the Head of Service on Wednesday 9th, September, 2015 and should not be paid into workers’ individual account.
“All the arrears of salaries and pensions should be paid from the already released bailout funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria which it is meant for.”
“That Mr. Governor should direct the Accountant General of the state and Accountant of the Ministry of Local Government not to release half salary into any workers’ individual account”.
The state government in a swift reaction through the Director of Communication and Strategy to the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said the statement made by the Head of Service, should not be misconstrued by the workers.
He said, “there should not be any misconception over salary payment again because the layout has been made clear and nowhere did the Head of Service claim that workers will be paid half salaries. But I am sure that whatever remaining grey areas on the issue will be sorted out in the interest of the state.
“This government won’t do anything against the interest of workers. I can assure you that Governor Aregbesola recognises the sacrifices they have made and he is committed to their welfare”.