The rally cry by the Governor of Ekiti State Ayo Fayose to citizens of the state in a bid to tilt the advantage to his side in the continuing feud with the House of Assembly has caused divisions in the labor sector as some workers in the state are said to be unhappy with labour leaders who have allegedly abandoned their primary duties of agitating for their welfare and instead chosen to dabble in politics.
Acting under the aegis of Ekiti Enlightened Workers’ Forum, EEWF, the workers slammed the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC),the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) for their role in locking 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers out of the state.
The workers noted that it was wrong for labor to have joined hoodlums in blocking roads and causing statewide panic claiming that labor leaders were pursuing personal gains.
They wondered if labour had become an branch of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, saying the issue of workers’ welfare rather than taking sides with political gladiators should concern the unionists.
The workers urged the union leaders to steer clear of politics, especially the raging impeachment crisis and face their welfare, which they said has affected their morale. Also, the interests of workers, they claimed, should be the topmost priority of their leaders and this must not be traded on the altar of politics which they believed labour leaders have turned into a lucrative business venture when civil servants and other workers are wallowing in poverty.
The EEWF further stated that it was callous of NLC, TUC and JNC leaders to fight an unnecessary political war when the labour force have not been paid salaries since September, maintaining that the government has since received September allocation, hence payment should not be delayed. Other demands of the aggrieved workers include payment of 2014 leave bonus, remittance of various deductions, such as cooperative, check-off dues and loans to banks made from workers’ July to September 2014 salaries.
“It should be stressed that workers rely on ‘sharp-sharp’ loans and rather for the leadership of Labour to demand for improved welfare, the so-called labour leaders are conniving with the government to introduce another form of ‘sharp-sharp’ loans to workers. The burden resulting from interests on these loans is too hard for workers to bear! Government is a continuum, as soon as a government is sworn in, such government acquires assets and liabilities of the previous administration. The above matters are issues which the leadership of labour is expected to pursue but the so-called self-imposed/anointed leaders in NLC, TUC and JNC have vowed not to pursue because of their personal gains. At any rate, our present state of labour ineptitude may remain with us for a long time to come, unless the good workers of this state take some drastic steps to stem this unfortunate tide,” they said.