There was confusion at Ekiti State Secretariat on Thursday when some labour leaders chased out workers and declared an indefinite strike action over unpaid salaries.
The unionists who were followed by other workers also passed a resolution dissolving the state councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC).
Acting under the aegis of Ekiti Workers Rescue Team (EWRT), the protesting labour leaders and workers were led by the former Chairmen of NLC and TUC, Mr. Ayodeji Aluko and Mr. Kolawole Olaiya respectively.
The placard-carrying protesters slammed the incumbent NLC Chairman, Mr. Ade Adesanmi and his TUC counterpart, Mr. Odunayo Adesoye, of compromising workers’ interest for personal benefits.
They said owing core civil servants arrears six months, local government workers six months and pensioners eight months with no serious commitment to offset the backlog was “immoral, ungodly and unacceptable.”
They observed a minute silence in honour of workers who died in the last four years owing to hardship unleashed on them over government’s failure to pay their salaries and other entitlements.
Some of their placards read: “Fayose’s wicked government must go,” “Workers are eating from dustbin,” “Bread and butter unionism is counterproductive,” “Fake labour leaders must go,” “We are dying of hunger,” “It is strange for labour leaders to be defending government,” among others.
Addressing workers during the protest, Aluko said it was wicked of the Fayose regime to pay six month salaries and furniture allowance to political office holders and refuse to offset arrears owed workers and pensioners.
Aluko said: “Today, we are dissolving the executives of NLC and TUC in Ekiti and they stand dissolved, because their leaders, Ade Adesanmi and Odunayo Adesoye have lost their values. They are no longer talking about the welfare of the workers they were expected to defend.
“We decided not to do this protest before election, so that they won’t read political meanings to it. Workers have died, just because they are not paid. In 2014, Governor Fayose said any governor who owed just a month salary because he is building infrastructure doesn’t worth being a governor.
“Today, the governor owes pensioners ten months, LG workers eight months and civil servants and teachers are owed six months. We are not fighting Governor Fayose but he must pay the workers.
“Shortly after the election, Fayose quickly paid six month salaries and furniture allowances of political office holders, then what becomes of our teeming workers?
“It was sad that Adesanmi and Adesoye decided to give Fayemi three months moratorium to pay workers when assumed office, when they were practically doing nothing to ensure that Governor Fayose doesn’t leave office a debtor governor as he promised.
“We hereby declare indefinite strike commencing from today and only the national secretariats of both TUC and NLC can negotiate on our behalf, because we no longer trust the State leaderships of the two congresses.
“We regret to inform you that after a thorough consultation and proper reviewing of the decision of Ekiti workers’ congress to withdraw their services until all arrears are cleared.
“EWRT hereby toe the line of the generality of workers and resolved as follows: that all workers in the civil and public service of Ekiti State should embark on indefinite strike = commencing today, Thursday, 23rd August, 2018 that there should be no skeletal services by any sector of the economy as the strike is termed total that under no circumstance should there be any business transaction in account, bursary and any other department relating to the treasury of Ekiti State. This will be strictly resisted by workers of Ekiti.”