N713 BILLION BAIL-OUT FUND
N713 BILLION BAIL-OUT FUND
Workers and retirees must insist on full payment of unpaid salaries and pensions
Labour leaders must not negotiate must not negotiate part payment of salaries and pensions arrears
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR), Oyo State Chapter, urges workers and retirees in the state to be more diligent and organised with a view to make it difficult for the N713 billion bailout fund recently approved by the federal government (FG) being misappropriated. It will be recalled that a sum of N713billion bailout fund was recently approved by Federal Government for over 18 state governments across the country including Oyo State to specifically off-set the backlog of unpaid salaries and pension these state government owe their workers and retirees respectively.
It so disheartening to state that Senator Ajimobi-led government in the Oyo State owes its civil servants a minimum of three month salary arrears. For instance, teaching and non-teaching staffs in secondary schools, workers in parastatals, agencies, departments and secretariat are owed four month salaries (March to June, 2015) while local government and primary school workers are owed three month salaries ( April to June, 2015).
Shortly after the announcement of the bail-out fund, it was so surprising to hear that Senator Ajimobi-led government, which had been claiming that the state could not pay salary and pension owing to poor monthly allocation, hurriedly ordered the payment of the March salary for secondary teacher from level 1 to 12 while excluding those in level 13 upward. The primary school and Local Government workers who had earlier been paid their March salary were also asked to be paid their April salary.
But while the local government workers were paid April salary across board, the primary school workers from level 1-12 were the only one paid while those in 13 upward were also excluded. This was the situation until Tuesday, 14th July, 2015, when a text message emanated from the state Chairman of the NLC was sent around to inform that the balance of April salary for primary school teacher in level 13 upward will be paid on or before Wednesday, 15th July, 2015.
Against the above stated background, it our opinion in the CDWR that the labour leaders in the state are expected to have challenged the state government to explain to the general public a range of questions. Rather, the labour leadership signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) without any recourse to the congress of workers in the state to deliberate and debate the content of the so called MOU with a view to decide either to accept or reject it.
Questions Ajimobi must answer
The first among these questions is that what has the Senator Ajimobi-led government been doing with the state and local government allocations which it received from FG for March to May from which it was expected to pay the salaries of state workers, local government and primary school workers for these periods? Again what is responsible for the disparity in number of months of salary arrears the state workers and local government and primary school workers are owed? Does it mean that there was a particular months between March and May, that the state was denied of it monthly allocation while that of local government allocation from which the salary of local government and primary school teachers is usually paid?
Again, how come workers across board in local government are paid full April salary and only level 1-12 of their counterpart in primary school are paid for the month of April while level 13 upward were excluded until they were recently notified through a text message sent around by the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that their balance of their April salary will be paid on or before Wednesday, 15th July, 2015?
This therefore raises another question that, where did the Ajimobi-led government suddenly get the money to pay the balance of April salary for primary school teachers from level 13 upward especially when it is obvious that the state is yet to receive a new allocation from the FG?
It is in a full consideration of the above-stated questions that we often call on workers and retirees in the state not to be swayed by the horrendous argument that the refusal of Senator Ajimobi-led to pay salaries and pension of workers and retirees is caused by the drop in federal allocation under the past Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP regime. This argument is a half-truth! However, while it is true that there is a decline in monthly allocation as a result of oil revenue, it is the profligacy of the anti-poor capitalist politicians regardless of political party especially in the election year which is the main reason workers and retirees were denied of their salaries and pension respectively.
The servicing of debts incurred by the APC-led government owing to the issuance of bond in the capital market has also eaten into the revenue of the state. These loans are usually misappropriated as there are hardly evidences of what they are spent on in term of job opportunity and sustaining infrastructure. This is why CDWR continue to insist that it is highly immoral and unacceptable for Governors and politicians who claim not to have money to pay workers to be living ostentatiously on the resources of the state while workers, pensioners and their dependents continue to suffer for the consequence of their financial recklessness and misappropriation.
United action needed
We therefore hold that workers and retirees must be united to demand immediate and unconditional payment of all their unpaid salary and pension arrears especially now that a sum of N713 billion has been released by the FG to specifically offset all salaries and pension arrears. We suspect that it is the fear of this unity that Senator Ajimobi-led government in a connivance with the state labour leaders has decided to be imposing fractional payment of unpaid salary and pension arrears on workers and retirees in the state.
This is with a view to introduce an artificial division into their rank so as to weaken their collective strengthen and made it impossible for them to fight their cause collectively. It is in our aspiration and determination to help defeat this anti-workers gimmick of the APC-led government in the state that we of CDWR has decided to launch an initiative of a weekly public meeting of civil servants in the state. This kind of a public meeting will provide an opportunity for rank and file workers in the state to participate and contribute to a discussion and debate on how the state government can be forced to fully pay all unpaid salaries and pension arrears in the state.
This will require a demand for immediate investigation and probe of all financial activities of the APC-led government in the state and that the FG special intervention fund must to be placed under a democratic control and management of elected representative of workers, retirees and government functionaries in the state. This is in order to ensure that the Oyo state share of the N713 billion bailout fund is not diverted or misappropriated like way the state and local government allocation for March to June, 2015 meant for the payment of salary and pension in the state were allegedly misappropriated.
Finally, the central lesson workers, retirees and the entire poor strata of the society must learn from the conduct and character of the governments in Oyo state and others who are owing workers’ salaries is that workers’ interests cannot be guaranteed and secured by the set of capitalist politicians and parties (APC, PDP, APGA, ACCORD, Labour Party, etc.) currently in power across the country. All of them are united in their introduction of anti-worker, pro-rich policies and programmes. This is why the CDWR has been consistently calling on workers’ movement to begin the process of building a new mass political party of the working and oppressed people, premised on socialist programmes and policies.
This leaflet is issued by the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) Oyo state Chapter.
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