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The Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Akeem Lasisi said the Union leaders did not collect bribes from the state government.
The labour union under the umbrella of the Nigeria Labour Congress , TUC, and Joint Negotiating Congress has been Acussed of collecting a sum of N10 million from the government before suspending the strike .
Speaking on behalf of the other leaders of the union,Lasisi said the union leaders had earlier met with the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, to negotiate and address the demands and grievances of workers across the state.
He added that the leaders were not bribed to suspend the ongoing indefinite strike but had suspended it, adding that this came after the state government and the union leaders reached a reasonable conclusion.
Lasisi said, “And I want everybody to note it down that, I, comrade Akeem Lasisi and other Labour leaders in Ogun State, have not taken bottled water from the government up to the moment I am talking to you but everybody is free to say whatever he or she likes, that is politics in the labour movement.
“We heard rumours that ‘Ghana must go’ entered that office, and it was rumoured that ‘Ghana must go’ was given to each of us inside that office, I just laughed when I heard that.
“When I sent one of the officers to withdraw for me from the bank, does that mean the money would be given out?
“We have nothing to do with that, but before we knew it, it had gone all over that we were being forced to sign. All sort of news got to the NLC Secretariat that night, it was a tug of war between leadership as people towed outside and the Organised Labour sold themselves out to the workers in Ogun State.”
The TUC chairman maintained that the union leaders agreed to suspend the strike because the government was ready to meet some of it’s demands, adding that it was never because of bribe.
“At the meeting, the governor agreed to start paying salaries for as from July which had never happened in Ogun State. At least in the last ten years we have not collected gross salary as part of the first month. He agreed to start paying gross salaries from July.
“On the issue of 30/31 months reduction, he said he he would release N1.5 billion between now and December, you know, immediately he starts to pay the salaries from July, that means the issue of owing deduction is now over.
“On the issue of minimum pension, he was also not happy, for someone that has been collecting N5,000 as minimum wage, as a result of that, he said he was looking at a situation where the minimum wage would be N10,000
“He said he can not afford pensions in Ogun State and he also adopted a minimum pension but he will set up a committee within the next two weeks, that would send recommendations to the government.
“On the issue of promotion he said 2021/2022, we discussed it at the last meeting of the Organised Labour and the government because their impression is that meetings should be held regularly between the Organised Labour and the government at least four times a year.
“The reason is this, when we entered the meeting, Hs Excellency said he was disappointed in the Organised Labour, because the way they handled these matters was illegal, we didn’t give him the required 21 days ultimatum and we told him it was not like that.
“We said we have a standard salary rate which never happens. We texted four government officials but only two replied to our messages and we did not know what to tell our members because of their aggravations and grievances. We had no option than to call for the congress of workers to strike.”
Speaking further, the TUC chairman said due to the attitudes of the union members, the leaders organised another meeting with the government, adding that the meeting led to the same result.
He said “As a result of that, on the second day when we were to meet, we had to reset the number of those that said the offer we chose was not good enough .
“At the end of the meeting on Friday, we had to accept the offer formally and we signed in the procurement and we told them a congress of workers be called at 2:00 pm
“And the intention was that by the time we brief the workers, we would suspend the strike. I want us to note that suspension of the strike is quite different from calling off the strike.
“When we suspend the strike that means if the government refuses to attend to the plight of the workers, then we resume the strike but if we call off the strike, the issue is a no go area because we have completed everything.
“We had no option but to suspend the strike negotiation, it is a win-win situation, you cannot get all that you wanted.
“You will get some and lose some, I want you to ask you this, during the minimum wage negotiation, did we get everything?
“In 2021, when we met in December, he promised this promotion letter, January 2019, in March 2020 in June, he released it. When you check the present application of the promotion letters, he has also approved the number of copies. Why are we skeptical?
“Why do workers in Ogun State not have belief in the leadership and follow the agreement with the leaders?
“July is already here, the government said they would begin the payment of gross salaries. They said in the next 30 days they will release N1.5billion. Why don’t we wait for 30 days before we start to cause trouble?”
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