Since September 2015 workers in Osun State from grade level 08 and above had been collecting between 75 and 50 percent of their salaries, but they remained silent, and were working as if everything was going on fine and smooth.
When the half salaries were paid, they weren’t on time. Sometimes salaries of precious months were paid middle of another month. The workers only complained among themselves. They continued to work in what Afrobeat legendary musician Fela Anikulapokuti called “Suffering and Smiling” in one of his tracks.
The labour leaders had threatened over and over since Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbseola, for the first time in democratic governance, introduced half-salary into the state administration.
But it now looks workers in the state are now tired of half salary as Osun State Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC), under the umbrella of which workers are, has given a notice of their determination to make Rauf Aregbesola pay them their full salaries.
The last tranche of Paris Club Osun State got was N6.3billion, but that wasn’t enough for the state workers to get their full salaries. They’re now making their grievances public.
The notice of the strike which was signed by JPSNC Chairman Bayo Adejumo; Chairman Osun State Chapter of Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Tunde Adekomi; and the Chairman of Trade Union Congress Bowale Adekola and heads of various affiliate unions, read in part:
“Consequent upon the refusal of the government of Osun State to accede to the demands of the workers and pensioners as contained in our letter of Tuesday, December 5, 2017, the workers of Osun State will be proceeding on an indefinite strike by 27the December, 2017.”
The workers who insisted that the state has the financial strength to fully pay its workers directed workers to stay at home until they received further directive from them.
Is the strike genuine or politically motivated?
Labour leaders in the state have kept quiet for long. Some of them are perceived to have compromised. They were believed to have kept quiet when they needed to make their voices heard on behalf of workers they claimed to represent.
They had rather threatened to vote out All Progressive Party (APC) in 2018 Governorship Election. Civil servants aren’t allowed to contest in an election, but they have the right to vote and they’ve been rooting for opposition party.
Rauf was alleged to have responded appropriately, saying Osun State workers couldn’t determine who wins governorship election in the state.
He was alleged to have also said that he couldn’t abandon projects he embarked on in the state for workers’ welfare, “Osun State workers are just 5%,” he was alleged to have said.
Electioneering activities are gathering momentum ahead of Osun 2018 Governorship Election, and the state workers would want change of power, the only alternative at this time for them is Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), a party that has been battling with internal crisis since it lost power at the centre in 2015.
Has the state governor achieved anything since assumption of office?
Mr. Rauf Aregbesola assumed office on November 27, 2010, after Justices of the Federal Appeal Court, Ibadan declared him winner of the April 2007 election. He also won a second term ticket of his party on April 12, 2014.
Through this period, he has embarked on developmental projects cutting across roads, public school building, building of drainages across the state to prevent flood, which was a recurrent disaster in the state before he assumed office.
The public school buildings in state are equipped with state of the art of facilities. However, they’re occupied by unhappy workers who receive half salaries, teachers who receive no motivation.
Will the state workers vote APC out in Osun 2018 Governorship Election is a question that’d be answered by the strength of the workers at the poll.Osu