In a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, the state government wondered what the real motive of the striking workers was and whose interest they were serving in calling the ill-advised and obviously unpopular strike action.
“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,” Adeoluwa said.
He added that, “In spite of the fact that Ogun is one of the states that receives 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.”
Barrister Adeoluwa added that for instance, the Federal allocation for Ogun State in February 2016 was N1.2bn while that of Local Government was N1.7bn.
But the wage bill of primary school teachers alone for the month stood at N2bn and the entire wage bill for the state stands at about N9bn.
In view of this harsh economic reality, Barrister Adeoluwa says “the few misguided striking workers are simply playing the ostrich and pushing an insensitive argument which seems to suggest that the resources of a state with a population of over seven million people (7 million) should be totally devoted to the payment and comfort of civil servants whose population is less than fifty thousand (50,000).”
The state government therefore warns this group of few, uncooperative 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 look into the requests of the striking General Practitioner Doctors.
It, however, 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 law into their own hands.
“Striking workers are therefore encouraged to resume their duties without further ado,” Adeoluwa concluded.