LG Workers Commence Indefinite Strike As Okeme Seeks Suspension

As workers in 21 local government councils in Delta State, yesterday, commenced an indefinite strike action over non-payment of their salaries ranging from three to four months, the Special Adviser to the state governor on Labour and Industrial Relations, Comrade Mike Okeme has appealed to the striking workers to suspend the strike which has paralyzed activities in the affected councils.
Okeme made the call yesterday during a meeting between the state Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) and leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) held at the LGSC head office in Asaba at the instance of the Chairman of the Commission, Comrade Olumami Oyibo.
The Special Adviser to the governor who expressed optimism that the issues raised by the union that led to the industrial action would be resolved amicably, however, stressed the need for leadership of the union to come up with the cost implication of the salary arrears owed the striking workers in the state.
“There is need for the leadership of NULGE to come up with the cost implication of the salary arrears owed workers in the affected 21 local government councils in the state so that we can advise the state government on how to possibly resolve the industrial dispute”, he said.
He, therefore, urged the leadership of the union to call for state executive council meeting of NULGE with a view to suspending the strike action, adding that he would table the issues raised by the union before the state government.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of LGSC, Comrade Olumami Oyibo who noted that the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries was eating deep into the finances of local government councils in the state, said that the meeting which was attended by the state Chairman of Association of Local Government Councils of Nigeria (ALGON), Hon. Itiako Ikpokpo, was summoned by the Commission with a view to resolving the issues that led to strike action.
“We need to create an enabling environment that would lead to peaceful resolution of the industrial action”, Oyibo said, adding that the Uduaghan led administration in the state was labour friendly, just as he disclosed that “we are going to look for how the issues that led to the strike action would be resolved amicably once and for all”.
In his speech during the meeting, State Secretary of the union, Apostle Goddy Wilson said that he lacks the constitutional powers to covene state executive council meeting of the union, adding that it was only the state President of the union that can do that (convene state executive council meeting of the union) in consultation with the Secretary.
“Unless the state executive council meeting is held, we cannot suspend the strike action. Right now, we cannot communicate with the State President of the union, Comrade David Ofoeyeno and this has put us at a very difficult situation”, the Secretary who was joined by the Deputy State President of the union, Comrade Osita Zico Okwudi said.
Meanwhile, the duo of Wilson and Okwudi said, however, that if the government can pay three out of the four months arrears of salaries owed the affected workers, the union may have legitimate reason to suspend the strike action, even as they assured Okeme that the cost implication of the salary arrears would be made known to him as quickly as possible.