The Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi said it will not pay workers if they embark on strike, urging the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to conduct proper negotiatiations with the government.
Governor Ajimobi who seemed aloof about the strike threat said the ultimatum issued by Labour was not only surprising but unnecessary and uncalled for in the prevailing circumstances.
Speaking on Monday at the stakeholders’ meeting between the government, 33 Caretaker Chairmen and traditional rulers on the economic diversification project held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, Ajimobi said he is not willing to review the 90 per cent income dedicated for the payment of workers salary from the Federation Account.
He said the call by the NLC to add the Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) with the 90 per cent income from the Federation Account to pay the workers will not be possible at the moment, noting that, the government had not reneged on their agreement with the union.
The governor said;
“Government cannot pay 62,000 workers with the money that ought to be used to maintain over 10 million citizens. It was agreed that about 90 per cent of income accruing from the state’s monthly allocation from the Federation Account should be dedicated to the workers.
“The balance of 10 per cent would be deployed to the running of other aspects of governance.”
The Governor insisted that certain steps should heave been taken by NLC before issuing any strike notice to government.
“Modern day labour union and government relationship has listed steps that must be taken. Step one is if you have any concern about anything, there is a joint negotiation committee that is made up of government and workers, you first go there to discuss with them.
“If after the discussion it does not work then you can go to the next level where the head of service and government will now appoint some people to discuss.
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“It is when negotiations have broken down that labour can give notice of strike and not this old time labour government relationship where without discussing you will issue ultimatum to go on strike.
“It is illegal because this is a government where law must be followed and obeyed, not this culture of impunity. It is wrong to give an ultimatum to go on strike without reaching a consensus with the government.
“We have an agreement, there was a time we use to get close to N5 billion from the Federal Government and our IGR was like N1 billion, now everybody is aware of the situation, and now we are having N2 billion plus from Federal Government.”
In his remark, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, said the labour leaders should be patient and considerate.
“The government has tried its best allocating 90 per cent of the federal allocation to pay the worker’s salary.”
On his part, the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, appealed to labour leaders not to embark on strike but should be considerate and embrace the government’s conditions.