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Let’s return to negotiation table, Ogun government tells organised labour

Ogun State government has urged the representatives of the organised labour in the state to return to the negotiation table to finalise the grey areas of the demand for better welfare for workers in the interest of the people.

A statement by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, said that government considered the abrupt withdrawal of the labour team and unilateral declaration of one week strike as unfair, indecorous and violation of the principles of collective bargaining, adding that it was a surprise that labour took the step even when the negotiation process was still on.

Tracing the genesis of the crisis to the Pension Reform Bill passed by the House of Assembly, which the labour noted did not seek its opinion and inputs, Talabi said the government, after due apology for the lapses, set up a team to liaise with the Assembly and representatives of the union to trash out areas of concerns.

He said the government was taken aback as “labour manifested brinkmanship, where instead of labour giving input into the Pension Reform Bill as agreed, issued a notice of trade dispute with demands that transcended the Pension Reform Bill”

The SSG said on receipt of trade dispute notice, government-mandated its team to engage the labour with the first meeting on September 14, 2020, progressing to September 15, 2020, where issues were narrowed and approaching amicable resolutions.

He said that instead of notifying the government of the outcome of the meeting, the labour leaders took the excuse to attend to their members in order to conclude the negotiation, only to proceed to declare the meeting deadlock and announced the commencement of a warning strike the next day (Wednesday, September 16, 2020).

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He said the state government had agreed to the implementation of the new minimum wage for all categories of workers, commencing from November 2020, while the government would also continue to ensure regular remittance of deductions from members of staff salary to avoid addiction to the backlog of outstanding arrears adding, however, that the remaining demands will be subject of further joint reviews, the first of which will be in March 2021.

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