The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, has promised to hold a meeting with Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the face-off between the six tertiary institutions owned by the state and the government over 15 months salary arrears.
The monarch made the promise when the leadership of the affected institutions went to his palace, on Thursday, to enlist his support for the ‘Operation Occupy Oyo State Government Secretariat’ with at least 20,000 academic and non-teaching staff in January 2018.
Chairman, Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the institutions, Prince Adeniyi Afeez, who led members of other five trade unions in the six institutions to the palace disclosed the planned occupation.
The affected institutions are The Polytechnic, Ibadan; The Ibarapa polytechnic, Eruwa; The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki; Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo; Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora; and Oyo State College of Education, Lanlate.
The institutions had been on indefinite strike since November 2, this year, over issues bordering on salary arrears and reduction of subvention to the institutions to 25 per cent, which the government did to reduce cost of governance.
But the Alaafin appealed to the workers not go ahead with the plan, as he asked the trade unions to to give him time to meet with the state government on the matter.
Alaafin, who assured that he would give the feedback of the meeting he would hold with the governor to the union as soon as possible, vowed that as the workers had looked up to him as a father to resolve the issue, he would be a good father to them by ensuring the matter is resolved amicably as soon as possible.
Afeez stated: “We, the workers of the six state-owned tertiary institutions are on strike because we are being owed over 15-month salary arrears cumulatively by the Oyo State Goernment as a result of the reduction of the personnel subvention to 25 per cent and fractional salary payment since January 2016.
“We paid homage to Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, to intimate him with the pain and agony the affected workers are passing through as a result of the unpaid 15-month salary arrears, in order for him to intervene and prevail on Senator Abiola Ajimobi to restore 100 per cent personnel subvention to the state-owned tertiary institutions and as well, clear the backlog of the salary arrears.
“We noted with dismay that all organs of government in Oyo State had not shown enough commitment to resolving the issue viz: none inauguration of the proposed negotiation committee of labour and government, which was agreed upon at a meeting between the Secretary to Oyo State Government-led delegation and Nigerian Labour Congress Chairman-led labour delegation, and failure of the leadership of the Oyo State House of Assembly to resolve the issue before they embarked on the 2017 recess as promised at a meeting that JAC leadership held with the Speaker-led House of Assembly Committee on November 28, 2017.
“We therefore affirmed that the lackadaisical attitude and insensitivity of Oyo State Government to the plight of the traumatised workers of the six institutions and the future of over 55,000 students (who are now at home as a result of the two months old strike) are borne out of the fact that Oyo State Government officials do not have children or relatives in these institutions.”