Members of the organised labour movement in Oyo State, under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), have vowed to kick against any move by the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi to cut workers’ salary.
The workers said they would use every lawful means at their disposal to resist the salary cut.
Governor Ajimobi had while speaking in a programme on Splash FM on Saturday, said that the labour leaders in the state had agreed with the government that workers’ salary should be cut, following the state’s dwindling resources, at a meeting last Monday.
The state NLC Chairman, Mr. Waheed Olojede described the claim as false.
Olojede, who was taken aback by the claim, said there was never a time such a meeting where salary cut was discussed with the governor, took place.
Warning the government to desist from any step that would cause disaffection between it and the workers, the NLC chairman wondered how labour would enter into an agreement with the governor on salary cut at a time organized labour was agitating for salary review.
His words: “Today, the Oyo State governor featured in a radio programme and informed the public that he held a meeting with labour leaders and that we agreed on salary cut because of the present economic situation and the state’s dwindling resources.
“The message got to us as a very big surprise because at no time did labour hold a meeting to negotiate with the government on workers’ salary cut.
“It is true we held a meeting with the government last Monday, but it was convened to discuss the bailout loan, which the Federal Government has released to Oyo State”.
The NLC boss said the agenda of the meeting, which was attended by the governor, the head of service and other officials, was based on the Federal Government bailout to states and how soon the arrears of workers’ salary would be paid.
He said: “We went to the government to know how much was it and how it will be spent to clear the arrears of salary. At that meeting, the government told labour that soon, they would access the funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and as soon as the fund came, they were prepared to spend the money for the purpose for which it was meant. That is the clearance of allowances, salary and pension arrears.
“We also agreed at that meeting that since the federal allocation committee held a meeting in Abuja and released allocation to the states, payment of April salary of officers on GL 13 and above should begin immediately, while we await the bailout fund to clear May, June, July and August salary. That was the position at that meeting.
“It was a big surprise today (yesterday) when the governor said he had discussed with us and we agreed that he should cut workers’ salary. We say no to this and that there is no agreement between us and the governor that workers’ salary should be cut. This is also to inform employers of labour that the last NEC meeting of labour held on August 6 resolved that the law that guides minimum wage allows it to be reviewed after five years of implementation.
“The minimum wage was approved in 2011. The national headquarters of the NLC is preparing to call for a review of the wage. So if the NLC is agitating for an increase of workers’ salary, why should any government talk of salary cut? To us as labour in the state, this proposal is not acceptable. It is anti-labour, anti-social and unacceptable”.