Ogun Urges Workers, Doctors To End Strike | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ogun Urges Workers, Doctors To End Strike

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Posted: Mar 8, 2016 at 5:46 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Laide Raheem, ABEOKUTA

The Ogun State government on Monday said it came to it as a surprise, the decision of a few workers in the state civil service to embark on strike on Monday, urging the striking workers and doctors to end the industrial action.

This was contained in a statement signed by Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, Secretary to the State Government, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent.

Workers in state civil service under the aegis of Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC) began an indefinite strike over what the council termed “failure of the state government to respect the Memorandum of Understanding signed by a tripartite group sometimes in January 2016”.

The SSG, in the statement, noted that the state government wondered what the real motive of the striking workers was and whose interest they were serving in calling what it described as the ill-advised and obviously unpopular strike.

He said: “We are at a loss as to what this small and unpopular group of workers in the state civil service really wants to achieve as Ogun is currently one of the few states in the federation that is able to pay workers’ salaries as and when due, in spite of the current economic downturn.

“Despite the current financial crisis affecting the country, salaries have been paid up to February 2016 for all categories of workers in the state”.

He added: “In spite of the fact that Ogun is one of the states that receive the least allocation from the Federation Account, it pays the highest wages to workers in Nigeria.

“It is the only state in the country that implemented the Minimum Wage across board for both the public and civil servants and Local government employees from Grade Levels 1 to 17. Therefore, what the government expects from its workforce at this difficult period in Nigeria is understanding rather than an industrial action.”

Meanwhile, the state government, according to Adeoluwa, has warned the group of few, unco-operative workers to henceforth desist from physically preventing the vast majority of its workforce who turn up for work and are willing to continue with their lawful duties.

The statement said further that government would continue to offset the outstanding deductions and gratuities of civil servants within available resources and would look into the requests of the striking general practitioner doctors.

Reacting to the claim by the striking doctors that the state government failed to respect a circular by the Federal Government since 2013 on the need for all states to effect the payment of corrected CONMESS to correct an error of over 20 years on the doctors salary and that their colleagues in the state teaching hospital, the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, had been paid 10 months using the same circular, the statement explained that “the responsibilities of the general practitioner doctors were different from that of specialist consultants at Teaching Hospitals and that the claims of the former would be verified alongside their terms of employment”.

On the Contributory Pension Scheme, which the striking workers wanted government to abolish, the SSG explained that the scheme was governed by an extant law and could only be amended or repealed by the State House of Assembly.

The statement commended the majority of the workforce for its understanding and urged its leaders not to take the laws into their hands.

“Striking workers are therefore encouraged to resume their duties without further ado,” Adeoluwa submitted.