The face-off between Oyo State government and the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, continued yesterday as the workers paralysed business and vehicular activities in Ibadan, the state capital, protesting planned privatisation of some public schools in the state and non-payment of over six months’ salary.
It would be recalled that NLC in the state had embarked on an indefinite strike over a week now, demanding the immediate withdrawal of all trumped-up charges leveled against some incarcerated labour leaders and for government to rescind its decision to sell-off any public school in the state, among others.
The workers who started converging at the NLC secretariat at Yidi, Agodi- Gate as early as 7:30am, moved to the streets around 10:05am amidst heavy security who guided them to forestall violence. The workers, numbering over 5,000, and led by the union Deputy President, comrades Kiri Shuaibu, Peter Adeyemi and the state NLC Chairman, Waheed Olojede, created traffic gridlock from Yidi area, Agodi Bus-stop, Oje market, Beere and Mapo. The transport system in the city was also prevented from functioning, forcing passengers and motorist to trek to their destinations.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as “Workers say no to privatisation of schools, Ajimobi is a liar, Pay our six months outstanding salaries, we condemn selling of public schools,” among others. Adeyemi said the main reason the union was protesting was to further drive home their demand for the immediate payment of six months outstanding salaries of the workers. Olojede, on his part, said all workers in the state have been waiting to organise a mega rally to further protest the obnoxious policy of government that appears to them as anti-social and antiworkers.
He added that the union will remain undaunted and continue to forge ahead until sanity prevails between the workers and government of the state. However, the state Secretary of National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Comrade Akin James, said their peaceful solidarity walk to the governor on Tuesday was not to condemn the labour union, but that the union would not allow violence and brigandage to be re-introduced into the state under whatever guise by any individual or group. He said the era of impunity in the work environment is over, saying “this is the time that workers are ready to demand their right.”
Meanwhile, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has insisted that the state government would not reverse its rule of ‘no work no pay’ for workers who are participating in the ongoing strike in the state. He said this yesterday when he went round some offices at the state Secretariat, Ibadan, to inspect workers present at their duty posts.
Ajimobi, who expressed satisfaction at the turnout of workers in their offices, said those who were absent would not be paid salary.
While describing the ongoing strike by the labour unions as ineffective considering the number of civil servants that turned up for work, he said rather than adopt methods of intimidation and illegality, labour unions should embrace dialogue and consultation in a bid to move the state forward.


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