By Mumini AbdulKareem
The decision of the Kwara State labour union to suspend its strike over failure of the government to pay the minimum wage has split the body as the National Union of Agriculture and Allied Employees (NUAAE) has dissociated itself from the pronouncement.
Speaking in a telephone chat weekend with the Kwara State chairman of the body, Dr David Kayode Ehindero, the unionist said the suspension of the strike was too hasty and without commitment from the governor backed up with date for conclusion of negotiation.
“NLC did not have the nudge to suspend the strike and they did it without the consent of the State Executive Council. It was a clear decision of a clique at the state administrative council and they did not decide to go on strike in the first place on their own instance, why will they decide to end it just like that. That is why we disagreed. If you want to suspend strike after appeal from the Governor, they must tell us when they will sign the contentious issue. The NLC reason is not thick enough.
“We are calling on other unions to call for their rights so that the craze for the minimum wage will not fall into the hands of those who will deceive us. We did not go on strike for jamboree sake but because we want to achieve something. If we call it off just like that, it means we are just joking. We should have enough commitment from the governor which has to be backed up with words of integrity and dates. The governor should do the needful. The resumption of work will not be fully obeyed. In fact that declaration from the NLC chairman is 100% not fully accepted by the entirety of Kwara workers”, he added.
But reacting to the issue, the NLC chairman, Comrade Isa Ore told National Pilot that the NUAAE is a federal union which has been on strike before now adding that its action is irrelevant and will not make any difference or have any impact on the position of the NLC.
The organised labour in Kwara State called off its indefinite strike after a meeting with the officials of the state government last week.
The labour leaders announced the suspension on Friday after a closed-door meeting held at the Head of Service’s office in Ilorin.
Chairman of the Kwara chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Issa Ore, who spoke with newsmen, said they reached the conclusion following pleas from the Governor, HOS and other individuals to return to work while negotiation continues.
For his part, Kwara State chairman of Trade Union Congress, Comrade Ezekiel Adegoke, said the industrial action has shown government that the Kwara State workers are very serious with their demands and will not hesitate to down tools again should the government hesitate to respond to their demands.
Also, the Chairman, Joint Negotiation Committee (JNC), Comrade Salihu Suleiman, disclosed that the labour have the assurance of the state government to see to their demands which has already got to the final stage.
Workers in the state had embarked on industrial actions, following the state government’s failure to honour its ultimatum on the payment of the new minimum wage.
The labour leaders had on given the state government 14-day ultimatum to start payment of the new national minimum wage at a press conference in Ilorin on September 28.
By Mumini AbdulKareem