Oyo NLC demands withdrawal of charges against union leaders
Labour threatens strike in three states over unpaid salaries
As the crisis between labour and the state government over the privatisation of public schools in Oyo State continues, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday demanded the discontinuation of the suit instituted against some of its members including the chairman, Waheed Olojede.
Some labour leaders had last Wednesday disrupted the education stakeholders meeting convened by the state government to dialogue on the proposed privatisation of public secondary schools in the state.
The labour leaders were subsequently arrested and charged to court for causing a breach of public peace and allegedly threatening the governor and causing bodily harm to the Secretary to the State Government, Ismaila Alli.
Although the labour leaders were granted bail last Friday, the union at a press conference called for the discontinuation of the case.
Meanwhile, labour union in the south-west zone of the country yesterday condemned the current backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions and gratuity of workers in some states, threatening to declare industrial action.
The union, under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) said it had put affected states – Ondo, Ekiti and Oyo states on notice to either immediately resolve the issue of paying salary, pensions and gratuity arrears or be prepared to face the anger of organised labour.
Treasurer of the NLC in Oyo, Bosun Daramola, who addressed reporters said the arrests was part of the plot to force labour unions in the state to support the planned privatisation of education by the government.
The union demanded the unconditional release of its leaders and the immediate withdrawal of all the charges against them.It also demanded the payment of all outstanding salaries and other arrears of workers in the state.
Daramola said: “The union was aware that the arrest, arraignment and incarceration of our leaders was a deliberate gimmick of the Oyo State government to weaken the determination of the union to lead the suffering workers in the state
AUPCTRE also called on the states concerned to immediately release all the arrested labour leaders and pay up all outstanding salaries, allowances and gratuity due to the workers.
National President of the union, Solomon Adelagun, in a communiqué issued at the end of the 20th plenary session concluded yesterday, appreciated the Federal Government for the provision of bailout funds for payment of salary arrears, pensions and gratuity to state governments.
Adelagun, however, regretted that “most of the state governments have misappropriated the funds such that workers are owed between two to 11 months arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuity.”
The union called on the Federal Government to ensure that all states governments are called to account for the disbursement of the fund in line with the current war against corruption.