Osun, workers parley on pay arrears deadlocked



The expectation that Osun State workers would start receiving their eight months salaries arrears from tomorrow as promised by the Governor Rauf Aregbesola may remain unfulfilled as a meeting over settlement of the debt between labour leaders and government negotiation team has reportedly ended in a stalemate.

The Guardian gathered yesterday in Osogbo, the state capital, that a disagreement arose during the meeting led by the Chief of Staff {CoS} to the governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola.

Sources told The Guardian that the meeting which had begun on a cautious note became heated when the government team proposed two months salaries to the workers.

The proposal was said to have irked the labour representatives who vowed to reject the offer on account that payment of two months salaries out of the eight months would amount to a drop in the ocean given the level of commitment and indebtedness of the workers.

A source said the labour leaders present at the meeting were unequivocal and remained resolute that the least expected payment that could ameliorate the huge debt most workers had been plunged into is payment of five months out of the eight months.

The workers were said to have told their leaders that nothing short of the payment of five months salaries would be acceptable and had mandated them not to accept a different proposal that might be offered by the state government.

Aregbesola, who had confessed the difficulty in the payment of salaries in the state however, promised recently to pay the arrears but he did not specify how many months he would be able to pay.

Labour leaders who were at the negotiation table were said to have stormed out of the meeting when it became obvious that the other party was not ready to shift grounds. The government team was said to have begged the union leaders to accept the offer to enable the striking workers have a reprieve and probably reconsider their position on the strike which began on May 25.

The effect of the strike had started taking its toll on the state drive to increase its Internally Generated Revenue {IGR} which recently hit a N1.6 billion mark from the paltry N600 million inherited by Aregbesola’s administration from the ousted Peoples Democratic Party {PDP} administration.

However, Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Semiu Okanlawon promised to get back to disclose government’s position on the matter at press time.

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