Leaders of Labour unions in Kogi State have condemned claim by Kogi State government that signatories to the strike notice are unknown labour leaders.
In a chat with newsmen in Lokoja, Kogi State Secretary of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Kolawole James said labour leaders were shocked by the claim made by the Director General on Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo.
Fanwo, had in his response to the strike notice, alleged that none of the signatories to the letter was a civil servant.
He added that the signatories were not the union leaders the state government had been relating with.
However, the TUC scribe debunked the allegations as being far from the truth.
James noted that the signatories are well known to labour leaders who had at one time or the other related with the state government.
“As the Secretary of TUC, I have had cause to exchange correspondence with the state government on several occasions. I was part of the first staff screening committee headed by Paul Okuntimo. I also served, as representative of Labour, in the final screening committee. To say I and other signatories are unknown labour leaders is not true.
“Secretaries of labour unions are not civil servants, they are employees of the Union seconded to different state to manage their respective secretariats. It is the duty of Union secretaries to sign correspondence from the secretariat.
“The government should rather focus on the demands contained in the strike notice and find ways to meet the demands to avert industrial action. As we speak, the state government has not reached out to Labour to discuss how they will meet our demands. However, we met with the committee constituted by the State House of Assembly on Thursday and we tabled our demands before it.
“We stand by our demands that workers’ July and August salaries must be paid. This is basic. Some workers in the state are owed 19 months salary as at today. Just yesterday, we were informed that the Principal of Community Secondary School, Ayere, Mr. Musari Rahman, who has not been paid salary in the last 19 months has passed away. This is just one of the many unfortunate reports we get from workers across the state.
“We also demand that government rescind its decision on clocking in and out policy in the public service of Kogi state, which aims at casualising the service on daily pay basis. This negates the provisions of National Councils on Establishment’s principles and practices guiding the civil service in the country,” he said.
He further assured civil servants in the state of Labour leaders’ commitment to their welfare.