Ogun state workers are prisoners serving life jail term, says labour leader

The Ogun State workers on Sunday liken their situation to “a life prisoner term wearing a wristwatch”, alleging the government of denying them life’s basic needs, and stressing that it was not clear if there is abundant life value again for them.

Penpushing reports that the Chairman of Trade Union Congress(TUC), Comrade Akeem Lasisi said this in his address on the occasion of the 2022 May Day Celebration held at Moshood Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta

“You want to liken our case to that of a prisoner on a life prison term wearing a wristwatch. Of course, we are not prisoners, but when you are being denied of life’s basic things which make life worth living for you and your family members, then your life may not be largely different from that of a prisoner, sake of the freedom you enjoy. But you also ask the fundamental question:  Is life abundantly valued here any longer?’, he said

The congress boss said the various welfare packages, incentives; Social Security Scheme, Contributory Pension Scheme, Health Insurance Scheme, Housing Scheme, Home Owner Charter Scheme and several other social services or initiatives that are available in other climes have remained largely on paper or at best in conduit pipes.

‘Your Excellency, public servants in the state are tensed up, agitated and restless, all of which are negative signs to improve productivity and efficiency in public service, the consequences of which are better avoided’, Lasisi stated

‘Labour leaders are being inundated with a barrage of criticisms, insults, attacks and acrimonious comments from our members across the state. The height of such is the fact that we were accused of colluding with the government to cut short their expectations’.

‘We are not unaware of the difficulties that governments across the country are facing especially as far as meeting the needs and rights of civil/public servants are concerned. The situation in Ogun state is largely not different from what is obtainable in other states’.

‘We are however convinced that with brilliant and consummate management of resources, the conditions of workers in Ogun State can still be made better than what we have on our hands’, Lasisi said

Penpushing also reports that, the workers leadership, however listed some of of their prayers to the Governor, that the  government should  release the 2020 promotion letters in the month of May 2022 as against June 2022, since the promotion exercise was long overdue in the year 2020, two years ago. Our colleagues will heave a huge sigh of relief when the letters eventually get to their hands with the attendant financial benefits.

*Government should kindly do everything in its power to approve the conduct of the 2021 and 2022 promotion exercises without allowing these to spill over into 2023, as that is an election year, which has its own headaches and pains. We will forever be grateful if our request in this regard is graciously approved, Your Excellency.

*Government should kindly remit the 7 years of unpaid statutory leave allowances and 21 months of global deductions which include workers’ Cooperatives deductions and other related deductions without delay as many of our members have been left helpless and hapless as their monies are inaccessible.

*Government should also implement the statutory consequential adjustment that makes it mandatory to also increase pension allowance by 33.3% whenever the mainstream workers enjoy salary increase or automatic increase in pension every five years. Our senior citizens and retirees are dying in droves and many who are ill do not have the funds to look after themselves. The situation is gory and grim, Your Excellency.

Penpushing reports that, the congress stated that, in the same vein, the workers  are bothered by the non-payment of the accumulated gratuity to  senior citizens who retired since 2013/2014 to date.

‘Government should do everything possible to increase the grossly inadequate quarterly release of ₦500 million to clear the backlog of gratuities which has amounted to a whopping Sixty-eight Billion Naira (₦68BN) for the State Pensioners. The figure of that of the Local Government also staggering’.

 Penpushing further reports that, Lasisi said if the past government had started the remission of ₦500million quarterly as being done by Abiodun’s government, the backlog might have been either completely offset or minimally reduced by now, and took time to commend the preseny government for being humane, but sought  an upward review of the amount so remitted quarterly.

“The contributory Pension Scheme has obviously failed completely in Ogun State with over 150 months deducted but unremitted. The government is humbly urged to review the same by stopping the Contributory Pension Scheme deductions in the first instance and revert to the Defined Benefits Scheme as the Contributory Pensions has defeated its objectives, while we return to the table to fashion a way forward”.

“Your Excellency, we should be quick to remind you that at a meeting between labour and government on 19th November 2021, you promised to do a quarterly offsetting of the global deductions owed to workers in the state. It is painful and regrettable to remind and inform you that the reverse is the case as the deductions have grown into 21 months, unremitted”.

“What are we, therefore, celebrating on the International Worker’s Day, here in Nigeria, and by extension, Ogun State, when workers’ situations have not improved from what they were last year or the year before? These thorny issues and others were vigorously and freely discussed before the current administration came on board”, he emphasized

“It is sad that it has not received the sincere attention of the government. We demand for your uncommon political commitment toward the financial obligation of government to public servants in the state. We would be glad to leave this venue with words of assurances that inspired belief and faith in your administration. After all, you have said at several fora that you would not do everything but you would do everything you promised to do”, he added.

Penpushing also reports that, the Governor in response to some issues raised by the congress, said the leadership failed its homework, to have written the speech, adding that  number of prayers of the workers as stated in the speech read by the leadership have been met by his adminstration.

The Governor assured the workers that  he would never neglect the importance of the workforce, affirming that they are major pillar of support for his administration, stressing that he would not make a pledge he won’t fulfilled.

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