Things appear to have fallen between the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, the Trade Union Congress, TUC and the Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, in Oyo State. The bodies are reportedly divided over the strike that was recently called off. While the JNC, led by Mr Emmanuel Ogundiran and Mr Emelieze and the Andrew led TUC are on one side while the Waheed Olojede NLC has been left alone on the other. the unions had spoken with one voice prior to and during the strike. However, since the last meeting in which the strike was suspended, the unions have been unable to see eye to eye.
The state Chairman, NLC, Mr Waheed Olojede had called off the almost three-month-old strike, when Labour reached an agreement with the Oyo State government on how the backlog of unpaid salaries would be settled. however, the leaders of the other two unions, the TUC and the JNC Emmanuel Ogundiran and Andrew Emelieze distanced themselves and members of their respective unions from the said agreement.
In his interview with Ibadan Insider, Emmanuel Ogundiran said the clandestine meeting(between the state government and the NLC) was an exercise in futility and it has clearly shown that the “government of the day is still undergoing tutelage in labour education.” He added that he is surprised that the other two unions have been sidelined in the meetings. He said the strike was suspended when some of them travelled out of Ibadan. According to him, it has shown the government does not know who it should be dealing with. for him, it would have been better if all the unions came together to fight the cause of the struggle. “There is a subsisting agreement between labour and government which was signed on 16 June, 2016 by the three unions. If you look at the current agreement that NLC signed with the government, it has bastardised the earlier agreement. Some part of the NLC agreement states that there should be sacrifices on both sides. What type of sacrifice”, Mr Emelieze Andrew adds: “you will recall that the Oyo State Government and the NLC entered into an unholy alliance by signing a satanic agreement that is inimical to industrial harmony in the state.
The agreement is illegal, legitimate and unacceptable to the TUC, We condemn it in strong terms as we see the sophisticated and nonsensical resolution which allows the government to sack workers and reduce workforce”. The two leaders opined that Governor Abiola Ajimobi should resign if He cannot pay workers’ salaries. In a statement signed by the TUC state Chairman and the Public Relations Officer, Mr Lawrence Ilesanmi , they said it was most unfortunate as while the initial ultimatum lasted, the Oyo State Government did not deem it fit to consult with us, despite our correspondence to them. The government should know that any agreement signed without the inputs of other two unions is not acceptable. He added that he gave the state government five days to settle all the salary arrears or face another indefinite strike.
There also seems to be palpable fear among members of NLC and the other two unions because of the recent hint from the state government that it will be restructuring in the workforce anytime from now.
It was further gathered that the said restructuring will be done any time from now and it may involve retrenchment of some members of staff.Ibadan Insider also found out as things are falling apart in the NLC, the centre is also not holding between the primary and secondary school teachers. Some teachers in the public secondary schools have already formed an association named Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools indicating that they are moving away from the Nigeria Union of Teachers which comprises of primary school teachers