By Ayodele Oni
Resumption of final year students of public and private schools in Ekiti state today after almost six months stay at home, occasioned by the outbreak of Corona virus pandemic, is being threatened by work stoppage by government workers in the state.
According to government directives, teachers are to resume today while students in JSS 3 and SSS 3 classes are to join them tomorrow.
But, oganized labour in the state have directed workers to begin a three day warning strike to press home the implementation of their demands.
The workers, had in a letter, given the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi fourteen days ultimatum which expired on Sunday, to implement matters affecting workers welfare in the state or face the wrath of workers.
Leaders of industrial unions, Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) and Trade Union Congress, (TUC) had met with the Joint Negotiating Council, (JNC) of the unions about two weeks ago to take a decision on the government insensitivity.
In a letter addressed to the governor and signed by the chairmen and secretaries of the unions, the labour leaders expressed concern over the lackadaisical attitude of government to the demands of the workers which had been communicated to the governor and top cabinet members through several letters.
Part of the letter reads, “Your Excellency, It is with heavy heart that we considered it as a grave insensitivity and exclusion on the part of the state government to turn blind attention to various outstanding issues which we have highlighted in our not less than six letters to the State government with a particular reference to our recent letter dated 21st May 2020.
“Flowing from the above and for the purpose of clarity and emphasis, the leadership of the organized labour wish to highlight the outstanding workers welfare as follows:
“The organized labour considered it as not only sacrilegious but also unprecedented the non-implementation of financial benefits arising from the letters of promotion given to all deserving workers from years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and advancement.
“For the purpose of hindsight, successive governments in the State since the creation of Ekiti State in 1996 have been implementing promotions in a sequential order and as and when due, for instance and in order to refresh our memory various outstanding promotions for different years especially 2012, 2013 and 2014 were implemented without any denial.”
According to the workers, it is unacceptable for the state government to jetision the outstanding promotions for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 and contemplate in the implementation of 2018 and 2019 only.
“Whereas some workers were appointed Permanent Secretaries and Executive Secretaries as a result of the above referred years while other workers were left to groan in pains and inflicted with pshycological paralysis.”
Other demands include, payment of six months gross salaries and six months deductions for local government workers and primary school teachers, the leave bonus for the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 to all deserving workers in the state and deductions such as cooperative societies bank loan repayment, union check off dues as well as special Hazard allowance for Health workers as a result of the ravaging COVID-19 Pandemic .
They stated that the demands should be implemented within the next 14 days with effect from Monday 20th July, after which the workers will embark on three days warning strike commencing in the mid-night of Monday 3rd August.
It was however gathered that the inability of the state government representatives to meet with the leadership of the workers union may not be unconnected with the gale of Covid 19 pandemic which hit the governor and several of his Aides, forcing them into self isolation.
Governor Fayemi returned to work just last Friday after Eleven days while some of his commissioners and top civil servants are still in isolation.