The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, on Monday met with Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, on the crisis brewing between the workers and the state government over backlog of salaries.
Wabba led labour leaders in the state to meet the governor at the Governor’s Office.
Journalists were barred from covering the meeting which lasted for about five hours.
There have been misgivings from workers about the delay in payment of outstanding salaries despite the fact that the state had received N34.988 billion as bailout fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The NLC president, who briefed journalists after the meeting, said the two parties agreed that the bailout would be used to pay workers salaries and pensions.
He said, “We agreed that the bailout would be deployed to pay the outstanding salaries and pensions. It was agreed that the salaries would be paid in the next few days.”
The governor also assured the workers that the bailout would be used to pay their salaries and pensions.
Aregbesola said this in a statement made available to our correspondent by his media aide, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon.
The statement reads, “We are using the opportunity to assure the entire workers in the state that all arrears of salary and pensions will be paid from the bailout funds as the reason for which it was received. And this is why the government has ensured that the verification exercise is concluded and the actual figure of workers is determined for the purpose of payment.
“It is therefore important for workers themselves to ensure effective conclusion of this process in order to ensure they reap the fruits of their labour and prevent the criminal and dubious activities of those who reap where they do not sow.
“Therefore, we must agree that civil service reforms are absolutely critical at this stage in the life of our dear state. There is a need for the engagement of all critical segments of leadership of government and labour for the necessary actions that will make the service effective, efficient and economic.
“If our state, and by all means, the entire South-West region, will become financially and materially viable, a wholesome review of what works and what does not must be carried out and implemented with considerable alacrity and efficiency.”
Meanwhile, students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, staged a protest in Osogbo on Monday asking Federal Government to reduce their fees and the state government to pay workers.
The students, who were led by the Student Union President, Omotayo Akande, said despite the increased fees being charged by the OAU management, facilities were in deplorable conditions.
Akande also said the nonpayment of salaries by Osun State Government was making it impossible for parents, majority of who were state government’s employees, to pay their children’s fees.
The students urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint new minister of education and to probe vice chancellors of all Federal Government-owned universities.