Civil servants in Oyo State will commence an indefinite strike starting from today, Tuesday, June 7th.
This is sequel to a joint directive issued by the National Headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC headquarters in conjunction with its Oyo State Chapter on Monday, as part of measures employed to resist the plan by the Oyo State Government to adopt the public-private participatory approach for the management of some their schools.
The National Vice-Chairman of NLC, Solomon Adelegan, gave the directive after a congress held at the Labour Secretariat in Ibadan, shortly after the seven labour leaders who had been in detention since Friday regained their freedom Monday.
Adelegan said that thy would continue the indefinite strike action until labour’s demands were met. Premium Times reports that among demands listed were:
“Immediate withdrawal of all trump-up charges leveled against the incarcerated labour leaders; Government must rescind its decision to sell-off any public schools in the state; withdrawal of all trump-up charges leveled against the incarcerated labour leaders”.
Also on the demand list was proper and adequate funding of the education sector including payment of living wages and other incentive for educational workers; and immediate payment of 6 months outstanding salaries and all pension arrears. Mr. Adelegan said:
“We condemn Oyo State government’s plan to sell our public schools. Education is not a commodity but a social responsibility of the government.
I think it will be better for the state government to sell the Government Secretariat and Government House. It is also unfortunate that the state government owes workers more than six months salaries.
In the light of all these, we order that all government activities as from Tuesday should be grounded through a ‘sit-at-home’ action”.
He added that all former correspondences and agreements signed with the state government had became null and void.
Meanwhile, the order came amidst demonstration by secondary school students in the state capital, Ibadan, on Monday. The students’ protest and the workers’ union insistence on the indefinite strike had forced the state government to shut down all public primary and secondary schools in the state on Monday.
The government alleged that students and members of the public were “coerced” by Labour to disrupt school sessions and engage in unwarranted public protest and wanton destruction of properties, noting that the strike action called by NLC was illegal and contravened “all known labour law and conventions.”
Apart from asking Ajimobi not to sell their schools, the pupils also demanded his immediate resignation. They said the state’s education initiative was designed to add to the burden of their parents who were being owed several months of salaries by the government.