Leaders of various labour unions in Oyo State have condemned state governors in the country for their lackadaisical attitude towards the workers’ welfare in their various states
Some of them who spoke at Workers Day Roundtable a programme organized by the state chapter of Nigerian Union of Journalists with the theme “The plight of Nigerian workers in a dwindling economy” had hot words for many of the governors saying they don’t care what happened to the people they are leading.
Professor Segun Ajiboye, the President of Academic Staff Union of Universities( ASUU) University of Ibadan branch in his opening remarks lamented the fate of workers in the hand of the governors, saying workers hopes have been dashed due to failure of those in government to think beyond allocation.
His words: “Our leaders are not doing enough to positively affect the plight of the workers; it is so bad to the extent that when we are supposed to be talking about increase in minimum wage, we are addressing the issue of how to pay backlog of salary arrears.
“Workers are being pauperized, we are being marched upon and degraded by the wicked leaders but rather than continue to be agonizing and live in pitiable conditions, we should have a solemn assembly where we can challenge those who want us to only work and not earn the pay that we deserve.
“We are hoping against hope, workers are completely disillusioned, we can no longer allow some people to continue to decimate our people, enough of this docility, we cannot continue this way, we have to take up the challenge, our people are dying prematurely”, he stressed.
Former National President of NUJ, Lanre Ogundipe said what is happening now negates the principle of labour union because some of the union leaders have compromised and traded their people for pecuniary benefits.
The representatives of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Olawuwo Olaniyi while defending the allegation of compromise leveled against the NLC by various speakers said: “we can’t compromise, compromise at this time is very dangerous, it is obvious that workers are living in agony, NLC is not sleeping but majority of our followers are not cooperating because they are afraid of being sacked or intimidated”.
Dr Doyin Odebowale a lawyer and university teacher who represents keynote speaker, Femi Falana, SAN confirmed the workers agonizing moment due to poor welfare from their employers but suggested that workers should be more creative and fashion out ways through which they can also generate money for their states.
He lamented the docility and negligence of workers to their responsibilities and posited that some of them particularly those working in local government don’t deserve to be paid.
“I was a member of the panel of enquiry set up by government and from investigation, we discovered that over N10 million which should be coming to government purse on daily basis is been shared among the NURTW members”, he added.
But in a swift reaction, the state chairman of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, (NULGE), Mr Temitope Sodo said the operation of the NURTW and other unions is guided by law and the council workers as law abiding citizens cannot do anything outside the law which also guides their operation except if it is amended.
A retired varsity don, Professor Yemi Aderibigbe submitted that the fight for workers salary should not be limited to those who are working alone, but to include the retirees, adding: “You are all coming to this position one day, but remember to lay your bed well so that when you also retire you will not suffer the same fate we are suffering now”.