From Abiola Alo, Ado Ekiti
Local government workers in Ekiti State have embarked on an indefinite strike in protest against alleged negligence of their welfare and unpaid salary arrears by the state government.
The workers under the aegies of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) who called for the strike to commence on Friday, accused Governor Ayodele Fayose, of not honouring the agreement signed recently at the Joint Account Allocation Committee on September 4, despite their goodwill to his administration.
The body also frowned at the state government’s fresh recruitment exercise in the state, when it had not cleared various salary arrears owed serving workers.
Rising from an emergency meeting held in Ado Ekiti, the union directed all workers to stay away from work until all contentious issues including social security, payment to Federal Inland Revenue Services and the amount for net distributable were addressed.
In a communiqué signed by the state’s NULGE President, Olubunmi Ajimoko, and the Secretary, Suleiman Alero, the body warned that it would not hesitate to deal with any member who disobeys the directive.
NULGE expressed concerns that while scores of people were daily retiring from both the local government and teaching services, salaries had remained static with pensions increasing drastically monthly.
The communiqué read, “Against the background of this government neglecting our earlier advice on the timeliness of fresh recruitment into the services of both the local government and the teaching sector, we again wish to stress that additional burden should not be put on JAAC until our various arrears are cleared. The case of those termed ‘Hurriedly employed’ in 2003 should serve as a lesson to all who remember history.
“In view of the insensitivity of this present administration, even at the point of winding up, when we feel that corrections of past errors should be made, it has become painfully obvious that no concrete agreement can be respected by this administration.
“The union is therefore calling all its members in the 16 local governments, the related commissions, Boards and Departments to proceed on an indefinite strike action from Friday.
“We humbly wish to stress that this position will only be reviewed when we see a physical evidence of the political will to alleviate our members’ predicament.”
The union, it would be recalled, had earlier shelved a proposed strike in August after a meeting with representatives of the state government.