The Organised labour unions in Ondo State have called on the state government to desist from paying a certain fraction or percentage of outstanding salaries and pensions of workers in the state from the second tranche of Paris Club loan refund by the Federal Government.
The organised labour unions under the auspices of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) described the moves by the state government as unacceptable an offer.
The labour union decision was contained in a letter jointly signed by the Chairmen of NLC in the state, Bose Daramola; Sola Ekundayo for TUC and Sunday Adeleye of JNC after the labour emergency meeting in Akure, they demanded a full payment of the September 2016 arrears, urging the government to device means of paying the arrears without delay or apply available fund on grade level basis.
The governor at a meeting with the labour leaders last month told them that the amount remaining after some deductions including the local government share and 25 per cent of the amount would not be insufficient to pay the September salary and suggested that all workers in all grade levels in the state service be paid 80% of their salary for the payment of September 2016 salary.
However the leadership of the workers union rejected the offer and pleaded with the governor to source for the balance of the money elsewhere to pay all categories of workers in the state one full month salary.
It was also gathered that when the governor rejected the appeal by the workers for the government to look for another source to complete the amount needed for the payment of the September salary which is put at N500m, the leaders suggested that rather than accepting percentage payment, the government should make 100 per cent payment to where the money can reach.
The labour leaders said if it is only 100 workers on certain grade levels that the money can pay their September salary, it should go ahead while the remaining workers would be paid when money is available.
But the labour union expressed its surprise when the Accountant General informed them that in line with the directives from governor his office had computed 80 per cent salary to all workers in state.
The labour union stated in the letter” A follow up meeting with the office of the Accountant General where it was opined that the system of payment could not apply the money on grade level by grade level except on percentage basis. The organised labour met today Thursday 10th, July 2017 and resolved as follows.
“That percentage payment or fractional payment in whatever form is unacceptable to Ondo State public servants and pensioners.
“That Government should look inward to augment and pay September 2016 salary in full to all workers and pensioners in the state.”
“While assuring Your Excellency of our support and loyalty at all times it is our wish that the entire workers of Ondo State will receive their September 2016 salaries and pensions without further delay,” the labour leaders said.
The governor had in July through a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Segun Ajiboye confirmed the receipt of N7.6billion by the state as part of the Paris Club Refund while the governor also promised not to spend the money until a meeting with labour leaders
resolved to do so.
Living up to its words, Akeredolu at a recent meeting with the labour unions said only 75% of the amount received would be expended on payment of the outstanding salary arrears while the balance would be used for capital project.
Akeredolu on inauguration inherited a salary arrears of six months from August 2016-January 2017 from the immediate past administrationof Dr Olusegun Mimiko and out of which he had settled one month (August 2017) leaving five months unpaid.
Apart from the salary arrears inherited from the last administration, the current administration had paid to date salary and pension from February 2017 since it came on board.