By Adekola Afolabi
Official activities were yesterday paralyzed in government ministries and agencies in Ondo state following the two-day warning strike declared by the national leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.
The labour union called out the strike over the exconciating effects of oil subsidy removal
In Ondo State, NLC Chairman, Comrade Victor Amoko, led other labour leaders in the state to enforce compliance across MDAs.
They moved round MDAs to chase out workers who were seen in their offices.
But in a swift reaction, the state Head of Service, Pastor Kayode Ogundele, said no worker in the state has any reason to absent from work under any guise as such worker would be seen to have been absent without official permission with corresponding implication in line with extant rule in the state Public Service.
Government MDAs which are usually a behive of activities became ghost of themselves as workers deserted the offices, while some workers who were seen in some offices were forced out by labour leaders, with a strong warning not to come back until tomorrow.
Addressing journalists, Amoko, explained that the strike action was not just about Ondo State but the workers and the entire populace in the country.
He expressed dissatisfaction that despite the severe hardship being faced by the workers occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal, nothing has been done to cushion the effects.
The NLC Chairman, however, said, “there is a little confusion in some areas. The State Head of Service asked workers to come back and even threatened them that he will not pay them salary if they don’t come, and they started writing names. This is uncalled for and it is annoying too.
“This strike is not being done in Ondo state alone, we are not so particular about the government of Ondo State. We are talking about the national. NLC national has given directive to every affiliated union to do the needful. I believe that they have directed their members to commence the two-day warning strike since Sunday.
But the Head of Service, Pastor Kayode Ogundele said, the state NLC was yet to inform the state government of its intention to go on strike while the Trade Union Congress, TUC had emphatically distanced itself from the strike.
“Workers understood that TUC had declared that they are not part of the strike that was declared by the NLC. And I’m also happy to note that in Ondo State, NLC has not in any way officially communicated to us that they are on strike”, the HoS said in a statement released by his Press Officer, Sina Adeyeye.
Ogundele emphasised that government had continually engaged the organised labour in dialogue and resolved issues as they arose.
According to him, part of this was the recently approved hundred per cent hazard allowance for health workers, placing the state as one of first states in the federation to implement it.
He added that monitoring of the situation would continue on Wednesday, calling on Accounting Officers in all MDAs to comply fully with existing rules guiding lateness and absenteeism.
Earlier, the NLC Treasurer, Comrade Afolabi Oluwafemi, said the national NLC has tried to engage the federal government on several occasions on the need to do something about the hardship being faced by the masses but government is not carrying labour along.
He assured workers in the state that the leadership of NLC will continue to protect their interest and fight for the best on their behalf.