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.
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.