Workers in Ekiti State, on Tuesday, began a three-day fasting and prayer to seek God’s intervention in their unpaid, five months’ salaries and other entitlement owed them by the government.
They declared that no amount of bribery and allegations and blackmail leveled against their leaders by the Fayose administration would deter them from fighting for their rights.
Specifically, leaders of labour unions in the state described as unfortunate and misleading, the comment allegedly made by Governor Ayo Fayose that they were fighting the government over low sitting allowance being paid them as members of the allocation sharing committee.
They described the allegation as a blackmail that won’t bring solutions to the imbroglio already caused by non-payment of their salaries.
The prayer session was coordinated by the Secretary of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Oluropo Olayemi, Vice-Chairman, Pastor Olugbenga Adeniyi, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, Comrade Sola Adigun and Chairman, Community Health Extension Workers, Comrade Idowu Fajulugbe.
The fasting and prayers were held at the secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, located along Iyin Road, Ado- Ekiti, the state capital.
Speaking with journalists at the event, the NLC Chairman in the State, Comrade Ade Adesanmi, said it was quite unfortunate that Fayose could be making allegations against them on a state television, even when he knew that the entire workforce had exhibited immense understanding about the state’s finances since his assumption of office.
“The allocation committee comprise the labour leaders, Head of Service, the Accountant General, traditional rulers, heads of tertiary institutions and many others, so we can’t be the only one to be paid sitting allowance. The Head of Service and our traditional rulers were paid as well.
“The question to ask is this: ‘Was the governor giving us the allowance to compromise and sabotage the welfare of workers?’ We want to say categorically that nobody bribed us. What we are fighting for is legitimate and no labour leader will compromise the welfare of workers, no matter the blackmail”, he said.
Adesanmi said that they made ten demands from the government, including payment of five months’ salaries, saying all their requests were their legitimate rights, which should not have generated any bad blood.
“We have been holding meetings with government and making progresses until last Wednesday, when we demanded the payment of at least three months’ salaries, but the government was adamant, saying it couldn’t pay. We later shifted to two months, and yet, government maintained its stand that it could only pay one.
“If we are comfortable with only one salary, then there is no reason going on strike. If we are paid two month salaries today, no worker will go home with something because of commitments here and there, let alone paying only one month.
“We are resorting to this prayer because we knew there is nothing God can’t do. We are making it loud and clear that we won’t go back to work except we are paid. If we request for five months and we later shifted to two months, then government must accede to our request, because if nothing is
done by June ending, then we will maintain that government must pay three months before we can resume work”, he stated.