OYO State governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, has condemned what he termed the unjust and inhuman treatment of civil servants and retirees in the state by the state government.Lanlehin said deliberate and willful actions such as non-payment of salaries and pension as well as gratuity meted out to serving and retired civil servants do not bode well for productivity, staff motivation and societal harmony.
Lanlehin, in a statement by Lanre Ogundipe, Director, Media, Publicity and Protocol, Handshake Campaign Organisation (HCO), spoke against the backdrop of the three-day warning strike declared by the Oyo State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the serial agitations by state-owned tertiary institution workers over months of unpaid salaries.
Lanlehin wondered what Governor Abiola Ajimobi was celebrating and thumping his chest over by saying he was fulfilled as governor, when there was a deluge of debts owed in form of pensions and gratuities, asking rhetorically, what manner of fulfilment that was.
“It is to be recalled that the state workforce, under the aegis of the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council (PSJNC), had embarked on a three-day warning strike last week over what it termed non-implementation of the 2012-2016 promotion approved by the state government.
“The strike was declared owing to the failure of the state government to give the promotion financial backing since its approval last year. The Labour centres noted that the state government only issued promotion letters to a few workers, and then placed an embargo on further issuance of promotion letters,” the statement said.
The ADC candidate berated the state government for issuing promotion letters to workers without adequate financial backing, and for stopping further promotions, adding that it was in line with the All Progressives Congress (APC-led) government’s tradition of consistently being against the people and caring for workers.
“Workers, who constitute a formidable constituency in the state, continue to be so treated with contempt. Treating pensioners with disdain to the point where the men and women, who had contributed their quota to the development of the state, are now forced to resort to litigation is very unfortunate,” Lanlehin lamented.
“What manner of government wakes up one day, and tells tertiary institutions to be self-financing?” Lanlehin queried, adding that withdrawal of subventions to the institutions, coupled with the non-release of capital grants to them had all but stifled the institutions, leading to their inability to pay salaries of almost 27 months, in certain instances, and a dearth in physical infrastructure in the affected institutions.” he said.
He assured workers, both active and retired, that the ADC-led government would run a government which will listen to them, learn from them, and lead by their support.
“Payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities, will be non-negotiable, and indeed, will be the centrepiece of his administration’s plans and policies,” he said.
Lanlehin added that from consultations with a different category of workers in the state, the problems facing workers had been highlighted, and the solutions to be proffered are already known and would be implemented once he gets the reins of power.
He subsequently urged them to remain committed to carrying out their legitimate duties, promising that “in yet a little while, the good times will return.”
Edited by Paul Akano