Workers shut down the Ogun state secretariat, public schools, and other state government-owned establishments in Abeokuta and some other parts of the state on Wednesday 28 June. Earlier on Tuesday, workers had gathered to hear the trade union leaders announce that indefinite strike action would thus kick-off after a seven-day ultimatum to the state government expired.
The workers’ grievances included the state government’s breach of the State Pension Reform Law, to dire detriment of pensioners; non-remittance of 21 months’ salary deductions for workers’ cooperatives; and non-payment of leave allowances for eight months.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC, Trade Union Side), submitted these grievances to the governor in a 21 June letter jointly signed by Emanuel Bankole, Akeem Lasisi, and Isa Olude, being state chairpersons of the NLC, TUC, and JNC respectively.
The situation in Ogun state is a clear demonstration of why workers and their trade unions should have no trust in pre-election promises that bosses make as politicians when seeking power. When the current Governor Dapo Abiodun, described as an eleyìí by Tinubu a few weeks back was running for the office in 2019, he gave the impression that he would be a “workers’ friendly” governor.
To carry the illusion forward and establish a honeymoon period, he made sure workers’ salaries were paid on 30 May 2019, the day after he was sworn in as governor. But once he had his hands firmly placed on the grip of the sword of power, he damned the working class. He refused to address thorny issues such as outstanding deductions not paid to workers, which had led to industrial conflicts, several times, between the trade unions and the preceding Ibikunle Amosun-led government.
by Baba AYE