Workers threaten showdown over 16 months unpaid salaries in Oyo

Workers in the Oyo State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters on Monday threatened to embark on industrial action if their 16 months salary arrears were not paid.

The workers issued the threat at a joint press conference organised by the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees and Nigeria Union of Pensioners.

The state NULGE President, Bayo Titilola-Sodo, alleged the ministry often deliberately withholds workers’ salaries and retirees’ pensions for between two and three months.

Titilola-Sodo said: “The union can no longer guarantee industrial peace with the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters if salary arrears of members and other demands are not addressed.

“While the Oyo State Government disburses monthly allocations promptly to pay workers and pensioners, the ministry, from where NULGE, NUP and NUT members draw their entitlements, withholds allocations.

“The Federal Account Allocation Committee allocations are released to state governments and local governments at the same time.

“However, workers and pensioners wallow in undeserved poverty, while these allocations are kept in banks.

“Right now, the Oyo State Government has paid its workers and pensioners two months salaries and pensions from Paris Club fund and a month allocation.

“The ministry is yet to release funds for payment of local government workers, pensioners and serving primary school teachers.”

Titilola-Sodo lamented that local governments like Lagelu, Egbeda, Ibadan North West and Ogbomoso South were being owed arrears of up to eight months.

Titilola-Sodo said the “fortunate” local governments were last paid a full salary in September 2016.

He disclosed that retired primary school teachers had not been paid their gratuity since 2008 and were being owed 43 months pension arrears.

The union leader demanded that all workers and pensioners who draw their salaries and pensions from the ministry be paid regularly and promptly every month.

He stressed that failure to comply with this and other demands would jeopardise industrial peace in the ministry.