By KELECHI MGBOJI
Baring last minute deal to shelve a strike action threatened by the Lagbus Union, the commercial buses operating in Lagos State may withdraw their services beginning from Wednesday and Lagos commuters may be thrown to chaotic transport services.
This follows a strike action threatened by the Lagbus Union over the sack of one of its members who is also the state secretary of the Union, Comrade Olowo Okere. Briefing newsmen on the issue on Sunday, the President if the Union, Mr. Lawrence Onyeabor, said that the union had issued a letter of ultimatum to embark on an indefinite strike action to press home two major issues in dispute.
He said “The letter of ultimatum was issued on January 24th, and the 14-day ultimatum will elapse on Wednesday February 6. After that the state branch of the union will give us a go ahead on the next line of action”.
He said that was the union was aggrieved by the sack of one their colleagues, and that they were not satisfied with the handling of the agency by the management, adding that the state of most of their buses was a sorry pass.
“We issued an ultimatum in respect of that and we also issued an ultimatum for the reinstatement of the state secretary, Comrade Olowo Okere. When you go to our depots, you see the busses in hundreds rusting away.
There is no sign that government is doing anything to put them back on the roads,”, Onyeabor stated. However, the state Commissioner of Transport Mr. Kayode Opeifa, said that the issue of the sacked worker is one that requires dialogue. He debunked the claims by the union saying that the busses are sufficient and well maintained.
The Commissioner explained that the worker that was sacked committed a punishable offence, pointing out that the matter has nothing to do with Union issues. Opeifa who made the clarification in appearance on a local television stated that the said worker used razor blade to tear off the christmas gift meant for another worker colleague on the guise that they had all agreed initially not to take any gift from management.
According to him, when the issue was discovered attention of the offending worker was drawn to it, stressing that he had since apologized for his misconduct.
“If a staff who happens to be a Union leader has an issue with the management and he went through all the processes and he was eventually disciplined for his misconduct, it does not necessarily translate to the Union using that privilege they have as a union to scandalize the agency. That is exactly what the union members have done,” Opeifa stated.
However, he doused that strike threat issued by the Union saying “should the Union goes ahead to embark on the strike action, government has a small fleet of buses and it is going to deploy these buses to the roads to convey commuters”.