Protesting workers in Ondo State have vowed to continue with their strike over the non-payment of their five months’ accumulated salaries.
The workers made the vow on Monday at a meeting convened by the State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, held at the international event centre, in Akure, the state capital.
At the meeting well attended by the leaders of the organised labour unions, the workers insisted on the payment of their outstanding salaries.
Speaking, Governor Mimiko pleaded with the striking workers to go back to their respective places of work in the interest of the state.
He said since the commencement of the strike millions of naira in the tunes of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) have been lost noting that this as further crippling the economy of the state.
Mimiko observed that strike was the legitimate right of any government worker especially in a democratic setting adding that the protesting civil servants must also understand the present economic downturn of the state.
He said the state only has N3.4 billion in its treasury to pay the striking workers, adding that N2.8 billion of the money would be used to sort out the striking local government staffs and primary schools teachers in the state.
Mimiko added that the remaining N700 million would be shared among the protesting civil servants among which are health workers.
He revealed that the state had already lost forty percent of its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to the strike since the workers began their industrial action.
The Governor, who disclosed that the state monthly wage bill gulped up to N3.9 billion, noted that the totality of what the state earned went to the salary of civil servants.
According to him, two factors responsible for the downfall of the country’s economy included a fall in global commodity price and the level of indebtedness.
He further pleaded with the striking workers to call off their strike and give room for dialogue with the government in order to find a solution to the issues affecting the payment of workers’ salaries.
The workers argued that paying selected workers their salaries would not solve the issue of the strike as many among them were servicing loans in their respective banks.
Addressing journalists shortly after the meeting with the Governor, the State Chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mrs. Bosede Daramola, rejected the offer of the state government to pay workers in the state one month’s salaries.
Daramola added that what the workers were demanding was their legitimate right.
She, however, insisted that the workers would continue with their industrial action.