Labour unions in Ondo State have kicked against the state government’s plan to pay fractional parts of their outstanding salaries and pensions from the second tranche of the Paris Club fund.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), in July, confirmed the receipt of N7.6 billion by the state as part of the Paris Club refund.
The governor pledged not to spend the money until a meeting was held with labour leaders on the modality for payment.
At a recent meeting with the labour unions, he hinted that only 75 per cent of the amount received would be expended on the payment of salary arrears while the balance would be for capital projects.
Akeredolu inherited six months’ salary arrears – from August 2016 to last January – from the immediate past administration of Dr Olusegun Mimiko, when he assumed office in February.
He had settled last August salary with five months still outstanding.
At the meeting with labour leaders, Akeredolu said the remaining fund in government coffers, after some deductions, such as the local government share and 25 per cent of the amount, would not be enough to pay the September salary.
The governor suggested that workers at all grade levels be paid 80 per cent of their salary for last September.
But the offer of modulated salary payment was rejected by the labour leaders, who pleaded that the governor should source for fund to pay the balance of one full month salary to all categories of workers.
It was learnt that when the governor objected to the suggestion of workers to look for another source to complete the amount needed for the payment of last September salary, estimated at N500 million, the labour leaders insisted that rather than accept modulated payment, the government should make 100 per cent payment to the number of workers the money could pay.
The labour unions, under the auspices of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), expressed surprise when the state’s Accountant General reportedly told them that his office had computed 80 per cent salary to all workers, in line with the governor’s directive.
In a letter to the governor labour leaders in the state – Mrs Bose Daramola, Mr Sola Ekundayo and Mr Sunday Adeleye – the labour unions demanded a full payment of the last September arrears.
They urged the government to device whatever means possible to pay the salary arrears without delay.
They said: “Modulated payment or fractional payment in whatever form is unacceptable to Ondo State public servants and pensioners.
“It is mandatory that the state government should look inward to augment and pay the September 2016 salary in full to all workers and pensioners in the state.”