Commercial drivers protest against Ekiti workers’ strike

Workers• APC denies involvement in action
• Labour asks Ondo workers to down tools

The industrial action embarked upon by Ekiti State workers to protest non-payment of their five-month salary and deductions took another dimension yesterday as commercial drivers trooped to the streets to condemn the workers for going on strike.

The drivers, however, described the workers’ strike as politically-motivated and accused the Labour leaders of receiving N25 million bribe to destabilise the state.

The protesters, led by the Chairmen of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr. Samuel Agbede and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr. Clement Adekola, displayed placards of various inscriptions at the popular Fajuyi Park and marched to Ijigbo to shore up support for Fayose’s government.

The RTEAN chairman expressed disappointment with the workers, saying he expected the Labour leaders to take a cue from Ondo, Oyo, Benue and Osun states, which are owing more than five months’ salaries without the workers going on strike.

“The workers cannot afford to paralyse the state because Governor Fayose has demonstrated transparency in the distribution of federal allocations accruing to Ekiti State. The Labour leaders were part of the negotiation that agreed that two months’ allocations should be lumped up to pay one month’s salary.

“But as we speak now, two months’ allocations can’t even pay one month’s salary. The governor used March and April allocations to pay for December and where do they expect him to get money to pay full salary of about N2.6 billion monthly now?

“We expect them to show understanding. But we are beginning to see that this strike has political undertone”, he alleged.

Also, his counterpart in NURTW said that they shouldn’t expect Fayose to go and borrow money to pay salaries or in the
alternative, stop all the ongoing projects.

He stated: “Ekiti State belongs to both public and private sectors. So, they shouldn’t see Ekiti State as belonging to them alone.

However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has denied the allegation that the party was behind the workers’ resolve to embark on strike to demand for their five months’ salaries and other allowances, including payment of pensions arrears.

Condemning the governor for rail-roading the drivers into a scheme to break NLC’s ranks and discredit state workers, Olatunbosun said: “Drivers have no business with workers’ strike because they don’t take salary from government. Drivers should see Fayose’s attempt to manipulate them into a protest against the civil servants as working against their own interest.

“This is because with workers earning no salary, thus forcing them to stay at home for lack of money for transportation, and traders having no money in their pockets, there is no way drivers can make money.

“What Fayose is doing by wickedly manipulating the drivers against workers is that he feels comfortable with non-payment of salary that will lead to the collapse of Ekiti State economy while he enjoys himself with his monthly N250 million security vote.”

In another development, Labour leaders have directed all workers in Ondo State to embark on an indefinite strike over the inability of Governor Olusegun Mimiko to pay them their five months’ salaries.

A statement made available to newsmen and jointly signed by Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mrs. Bosede Daramola; Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr. Ekundayo Soladoye and Chairman of Joint Negotiating Council, Mr. Adeleye Sunday, decried the non-payment of workers’ salaries in the state.

The Labour leaders stated vehemently that they can no longer bear the situation and had to resort into industrial strike action to drive home their agitations and ensure the welfare of their members.

“In view of the above, all workers are hereby directed to embark on an indefinite strike as from tomorrow (today) Wednesday, June 1, 2016 until further notice,” the statement read.

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