Determined to avert a complete shutdown of the state, the Oyo State Government has bowed to pressure and began negotiations with organised labour in the state to address the issues of the outstanding salaries and pensions of the workers.
It was gathered that Governor Abiola Ajimobi ordered the meeting with the labour unions to address the issue on Thursday.
Waheed Olojede, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Oyo State, confirmed that the government was discussing with them.
“We are happy today that the entire labour movement in the state was invited for dialogue which we started around 3p.m.
“We rose from the meeting now on the understanding by the two parties that now that the negotiation has commenced. The negotiation will run within a short period.
“The negotiation is expected to conclude on how to address the irregularities in the payment of outstanding pension and salaries,” Olojede said.
He expressed the hope that government would within a short time invite labour for another meeting, adding that this should be seen as an opportunity that would end the crisis.
He urged workers in the state to remain calm and follow the negotiation process, assuring them that they would not be let down.
“We will continue as leaders of workers in the state to fight for their welfare and industrial interest. This is our commitment.
“This is our responsibility and this we shall pursue to a logical conclusion,’’ he said.
He appealed to the government to ensure that within the next one week, all negotiations were completed so that the existing industrial peace in the state would be sustained.
It could be recalled that – NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiation Council (JNC) – had issued a 7-day ultimatum to the State Government to settle over five months arrears of salaries owed workers before April 7 or the unions could not guarantee industrial harmony in the state.