…shuts down radio station indefinitely

From: Laide Raheem, Abeokuta

Workers of Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC), on Wednesday, embarked on an indefinite strike and shut down the radio station.

The protesting workers, Daily Sun gathered, had stormed the station, located inside the GRA Ibara, Abeokuta, around 4a.m to put the station under lock and key, to protest four months unpaid salary, unremitted pensions since 2012 totalling about N50million and cooperative deductions.

When our correspondent visited the radio complex around 8a.m, the main gate to the complex, which houses other government agencies, was equally locked, while staff of the other agencies were prevented to drive into the building.

A detachment of Nigeria Police was also on ground to prevent breakdown of law and order.

The protesting workers, who were chanting anti-management songs, also carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘Hunger is killing us’, OGBC cutting grass with N750,000′, ‘Our present is uncertain and our future is not guaranteed, pay our pension’, among others.

Speaking on behalf of the workers, the chairman of Radio, Television and Theatre Workers Union (RATTAWU) in the station, Ayo Aina, said they decided to shut down the station after the expiration of 21 days, seven days and three days ultimatum given respectively to the management of the station.

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He berated management of the station for spending the monthly subvention from the state government and the revenue being generated by the station, recklessly.

Aina, who noted that the state government has been paying N10miilion monthly subvention regularly, accused the management of squandering the resources of OGBC on frivolity instead of paying salaries and other emolument of staff.

“We have to embark on this action to protest the insensitivity of OGBC management to the plight of the workers. Our monthly subvention was raised from N3.5m by the incumbent governor to N10m, upgraded our equipment and the station itself generates at least N8m on monthly basis, yet the workers are suffering.

“Since 2012, workers pension estimated around N50m has not been paid, while cooperative societies have not been remitted. Imagine, the management claimed it cut grasses with a whooping sum of N750,000, while the station has failed to remit N1,990,931 National Housing Fund between 2013 and 2016 and presently owing National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) a sum of N9.5m from 2012 till date.

“We even lost one of our members, Kemi Mulero last Saturday and the management hurriedly paid her four months salary to her husband on Monday. To us, that is the wickedness of the highest order. For this, we are shutting down the station until at least, our four months salaries are paid”. He stated.

Corroborating Aina, the chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists, OGBC chapel, Biodun Ogundipe, blamed the management for the strike noting the situation should not have got to the level if the management had jaw-jawed with the workers.

He accused the members of the management  of approving IoUs, collecting salaries in advance as well as buying and distributing fuel among themselves, instead of ensuring workers welfare.

Meanwhile, the Head of Service in the state, Mr. Abayomi Sobande, while addressing  workers, urged them to exercise patience with the management of the station noting dialogue remained the best approach to labour crisis. He added that a meeting would be organised between the management and workers of the station with the view of finding solution to the issue submitting such demonstration could scare away potential investors away from the state.