Ekiti Workers, Labour Leaders Disagree Over Alleged Govt Bribe To Suspend Strike

EKITI-MAPCivil servants in Ekiti State have accused labour leaders of betraying them by agreeing to a one month pay out of the six months owed them by the state government.

Recall that the Ekiti councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiation Council last May, ordered workers to stay at home following government’s inability to pay five months’ salary arrears and for failing to refund deductions made from their December 2015 salaries.

They described the failure of the union leaders’ decision to convince the state government to pay at least three months, as a “coup against the long-suffering workers who had endured misery, hunger and hardship in the last six months”.

The workers expressed their disappointment in a bulletin released Tuesday by an interest group known as the Enlightened Workers’ Forum (EWF) and signed by its Coordinator, Mike Bamidele.

The workers also claimed to be in possession of evidence that the labour leaders received N10million bribe from the state government to call of the strike.

The EWF also faulted the decision of the labour leaders to suspend the strike and agree to monthly payment of N10 million to pensioners, which it described as grossly inadequate just as it expressed doubts over the government’s capacity to access another bailout funds owing to the stringent conditions attached.

The bulletin said it was a mark of failure for the leaders of the state councils of the NLC, TUC and JNC to hurriedly suspend the strike after being promised only one month pay by the government.

It described as very “irresponsible”, the directive issued to workers by one of the labour chiefs to resume work and await the payment of one month salary seven days after suspending the strike.

The EWF boss revealed that the untold story of the whole saga was that “the labour leaders only succeeded in negotiating their own welfare as we have evidence that six of them collected N10 million which eventually led to the sell-out which is already causing ripples among other leaders who were left out”.

Bamidele said: “One wonders what gave Labour the impression that the Federal Government would again be willing to release another bailout to Fayose when the first one had not been accounted for.

“This is a mark of failure on the part of the Organized Labour and we in the EWF are not surprised about the development as we had anticipated this failure right from the onset.

“Against this background, therefore, it will be wrong and illegal for any Labour to attempt to coerce the workers back to work through the back doors without achieving anything. Negotiating one month salary on their behalf after about five weeks strike is not only anti-worker but also criminal”.

Reacting to the allegation, the Ekiti NLC Chairman, Comrade Ade Adesanmi, denied the allegation that the labour leaders in the state collected bribe, challenging anyone with evidences to the contrary, to step forward.

Adesanmi: “I didn’t sign the pact with government culminating in this resumption because I compromised, I signed because of the fear that this allocation may be spent without the payment of worker salaries.

“The same workers we were fighting for were coming to work during the strike to assist government in spending monies that could have been kept and added to the current allocation to pay workers. This is highest level of wickedness and posterity will judge all of us”.