By Tunde Oyekola in Osogbo
Labour Unions in Osun State were sharply divided at the weekend over whether civil servants in the state should embark on a general strike on Monday over salaries owed them by the state government.
While the state Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Comrade Akinyemi, told the workers to commence strike with effect from Monday, other Labour leaders including Comrade Bayo Adejumo, Chaiman of the Joint Negotiating Council and Comrade Francis Adetunji, Chairman of Trade Union Congress dissociated themselves from the proposed strike of the union.
Comrade Akinyemi led some members of the union in protest at the state secretariat Abere on Thursday.
Akinyemi was quoted as saying that the state government is owing the workers about five months salary.
Speaking with newsmen in Osogbo, the Chairman of theTrade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Adetunji, faulted the protest of Akinyemi and threatened that the union would take necessary action against him.
He explained that the three centre unions in the state comprising Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiation Council (JNC) had all been attending meetings with the state Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, and had resolved the issue on payment of salaries, leave bonus and pension areas owed the workers.
He described the protest as ‘gross misconduct, saying “how could you say you are representing the interest of the union and start ringing bell around the state secretariat.”
According to the TUC Chairman, “About 43 leaders of the union were in attendance at the meeting held with the governor in October 2014. Only the Association of Senior Civil Servants has been boycotting the union’s meeting, and it is personal.”
Comrade Adetunji also debunked the rumour that the state government is owing the civil servants five months salary.
He explained that only Level 12 and above are yet to receive full payment of November salary, adding that the government is yet to pay December and January salaries of civil servants.
He added that all local government and primary school teachers had received their December salary inclusive of deduction and leave bonus.
Adetunji, however, cautioned the state civil servants from following ‘illegal directive of Akinyemi that workers should go on strike.
He said: “We have never directed anybody to go on strike. Any worker that chooses to go on ‘illegal strike’ does that in his or her own interest.”