Leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and that of Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Thursday chased away civil servants from offices over crisis surrounding unpaid salaries.
The NLC and TUC led by Comrades Ayodeji Aluko and Kolawole Olaiya respectively, accused the government of not being sincere with its promise to pay between six and ten outstanding salaries the government owe them.
The former labour leaders, under the auspices of Ekiti Workers Rescue Team, while addressing workers in front of the secretariat, ordered their members to leave their offices and begin an indefinite strike.
They said it was wrong for Governor Ayodele Fayose, who accused former Governor Kayode Fayemi of insensitivity for owing one month salary in 2014 to have betrayed the trust and confidence the workers reposed in him that earned him victory in 2014.
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), in a statement by its President, Bunmi Ajimoko, had earlier told his colleagues across the state to begin a strike yesterday, but was later called off due to undisclosed circumstances.
The irate workers also dissolved the state executives of the NLC and TUC, headed by Comrades Ade Adesanmi and Odunayo Adesoye respectively, accusing them of betrayal.
Adesoye, however, described the dissolution as not only illegal, null and void but "flies in the face of law" as prescribed by International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The TUC Chairman also refuted the accusation that the labour leaders collected a sum of N14 million to mobilize for Fayose in the recent governorship election, saying the ex-labour leaders were only trying to malign their personalities to gain recognition from Fayemi.
During the protest, the ex-labour leaders also observed a minute silence in honour of their members who had died due to financial incapacitation engendered by epileptic salary payment.
Addressing the workers, Aluko said: “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”, he said.
The TUC Chairman, who spoke with journalists on the protest said: “I don’t think they have such power to dissolve an organized labour centres as former leaders. Only the national bodies could do such.
“We have tried our best to ensure that the government paid outstanding salaries. We have not shirked our responsibilities, even the State Executive Council of NLC and TUC just passed vote of confidence in us.
“It was very unfortunate that these leaders were trying to destroy the house that brought them up. We are trying our best to ensure that salaries are paid. We are expecting government to reduce the outstanding to a reasonable level at the end of this month. So, the protest was in bad taste. What the two ex-leaders wanted is political relevance”.
On the allegation that they collected N14 million to mobilize for Fayose during the July 14 poll, Adesoye said: “It was blatant lie that we collected a sum of N14 million from Fayose, to do what?
“It was a lie. Blatant lie, they won’t succeed in this attempt to malign our personalities. Fayemi didn’t recognize them and they wanted it by force. I believe if they should get recognition, it has to be through a clean way”, he said.