Osun state governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, recently met with labour leaders to discuss the plight of workers, pensioners, among other issues in the state. LATEEF DADA chronicles the highlights of the meeting.
Leaders of the three major labour unions led by Comrade Adebowale Adekola, the state chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC); Comrade Bayo Adejumo, the state chairman, JNC and Comrade Jacob Babatunde Adekomi, the state chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), were among other politicians who were at the meeting. Issues discussed were backlog of salaries, pension, implementation of promotion, among others.
The NLC chairman Comrade Adekomi pleaded with Governor Oyetola to help come up with solutions to the problems of staff of Osun state University. He implored him to prevail on the vice-chancellor to reinstate its workers who have been suspended, indicted, sacked and charged to court for various offences that violate some rules and regulations of the institution.
He urged Oyetola to direct that the litigation against the affected staff be withdrawn since they have shown remorse and seriously regretted their actions in the face of serious ordeal the institution meted to them.
Confirmation of acting civil servants
Adekomi described the situation where categories of top echelons in civil service were being pegged to acting capacity from the time of appointment to retirement as pitiful and discouraging.
He appealed to the administration of Oyetola to kindly be passionate to confirm all acting officers which includes acting directors, coordinating directors, acting executive secretary, acting general managers and so on, as substantive ones.
He also appealed to the governor to consider people with genuine thoughts towards workers for appointments to prevent giving government pieces of advice that are inimical to their progress.
Adekomi recalled a situation where the immediate past government was advised by someone that promotion is never a right. He specifically eulogised Oyetola for the recent appointment of Mr A Adewoyin as permanent secretary, believing that more civil servants who merit various high offices shall begin to enjoy same privilege before long.
Payment of salary arrears
The NLC chairman reminded the governor about the backlog of arrears owed to workers in Osun. He maintained that Oyetola served under the administration that was responsible for the debt, therefore, the need for his government not to claim ignorance of it but to pay as soon as possible. He prayed to God for resources to service it soonest.
Implementation and monetisation of last promotion exercise
Adekomi stated that the last exercise was long over due for implementation and monetisation, urging the governor to consider it for positive action that would actualise the real reason the exercise was carried out in the first place.
Welfare of pensioners
Adekomi thanked Oyetola’s administration for the recent payment of some emoluments to retirees on the old pension scheme. He, however, told the governor that there is a critical need for very urgent financial intervention to the coffers of pension fund administrators to enable workers who retired on new pension scheme since 2016 and who haven’t received a dime since then to do so. He lamented the precarious situations of affected workers and therefore urged for immediate succour towards them.
Adekomi appreciates Oyetola’s prompt response to hitherto rising security challenge in the state. He condemned in totality the ugly situation that led to gruesome murder of one local government employee by hordes of herdsmen on a major highway in the state.
Allocation of land by the government
The NLC chairman reminded the governor concerning his promise to allocate parcels of lands through the Ministry of Lands to some unions and associations to erect their ssecretariat saying, “Most of these unions need it so much in order to be able to have places called secretariats of their own.”
Welfare of workers deployed to teach in schools
Adekomi described the situation of those workers as unpalatable saying, they were stagnated on GL. 02, 03 or 04 without any form of inducement or advancement. He urged Oyetola to passionately look into their case. He informed that the affected staff were made to teach about 36 periods in a week in spite of their horrible conditions, noting that any act of proper placement on appropriate grade level alongside better conditions of service will motivate them to do more.
Adekomi described the condition in offices where approvals were given by both governors-in-charge that employment be carried out, which however was done in a way to favour one partner state over the other as unfortunate. He said if the grey areas are not looked into in time, the imbalance could cause serious bickering among staff of those institutions in no distant future.
Housing and car loans
The NLC chairman recalled that so many workers have benefited from the programme in the past, therefore, others who have not enjoyed it should be allowed to so do.
Those with certificate issue
He appreciated the governor’s magnanimity to reconsider the case of workers found culpable of certificate imbalance, saying that the committee that sat and reviewed the previous report has completed its assignment, and that the report has been submitted to the office of the secretary to the state government. He therefore pleaded with the governor to approve it without delay.
Payment of outstanding monthly deductions
Adekomi urged the governor to approve the payment of all outstanding monthly deductions promptly, saying, “This represents a huge portion of salary that workers contribute for vital use.” He added that paying it in time shall assist contributors, cooperative societies, unions, associations or even banks to access their proceeds for good purpose.
ResponseGovernor Oyetola described labour and indeed workers as not only partners in progress but also pillars of support. He advised that they should see themselves as part of his constituency.He debunked rumours making round that he has received funds from the federal government recently, noting that transfer of fund to the state is never secret.He assured all workers that he would always live up to their expectations. He reiterated that all arrears and outstanding emoluments shall be paid immediately he gets the needed fund.
He also assured workers that all welfare packages including monetisation of last promotion, resuscitation of housing and car loans and all other legitimate demands that were subject to availability of funds shall be attended to appropriately and immediately funds are accessed.
He disclosed further that maintaining the status of full salary has not been easy but was just made possible by the grace of God. He emphasised that he would never deceive anybody for any reason.
On the pension schemes, Oyetola said he has perfected plans to disburse money to retirees on the old scheme, same way, he has started subscribing N150million monthly to the purse of contributory pension, even as he hoped to get a lump sum that would be paid in bulk to the new scheme soonest, with a view to clearing all outstanding.
He stated that a kind of palliative would be introduced for retirees soon. This, he said, is for those who retired on new pension scheme and who haven’t received any entitlement since then.