Government and other activities was grounded on Monday across Ogun State as civil servants stayed away from work in compliance with the directive of the Joint National Public Negotiating Council (JNC).
Leaders of the unions in the state were at the entrance to the state secretariat in Oke Mosan and other offices as early as 8am to ensure strict compliance with the directive.
Although there were confusions in some areas especially schools as students and teachers resumed early for the day work but later dispersed.
The entire secretariat was deserted by workers while the few top civil servants were seen at their duty posts.
Reports obtained across the 20 council areas in the state had it that local government workers also obeyed the strike order.
According to the labour leaders, government reneged on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with state workers sometimes in January
Speaking with Journalists, the General Secretary of JNC, Comrade Olusegun Adebiyi described the level of compliance as impressive, and that the strike would not be called off until government fulfilled the agreement.
He said further that the strike is total and final as both public primary and secondary teachers also abandoned their classes.
Pupils and students were turned back for academic activities following the strike while courtrooms were under lock and key.
Adebiyi said the labour body had at different times met with the state government on issues affecting workers which according to him yielded no positive results.
“The labour is quite glad that our members obliged our calling. As you can see, when workers get to this gate, they see that the strike is holding. Before now, we have had several discussions with the government about matters affecting workers in the state.
“We talked about over four years of contributory deductions made from workers’ salaries, seven months of deductions, non-payment of gratuities which was last paid in October, 2012. These are our demands and government must oblige us before we call our workers back to work,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ogun State government has urged he striking workers to show understanding with the government and resume work without much ado expressing surprise and regret at action of the workers.
In a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, the state government wondered what the real motive of the striking workers was and whose interest they were serving in calling the ill-advised and obviously unpopular strike action.
“We are at a loss as to what this small and unpopular group of workers in the state civil service really wants to achieve as Ogun is currently one of the few states in the federation that is able to pay workers’ salaries as and when due, in spite of the current economic downturn.
“Despite the current financial crisis affecting the country, salaries have been paid up to February 2016 for all categories of workers in the state,” Adeoluwa said.
He added that, “In spite of the fact that Ogun is one of the states that receives the least allocation from the Federation Account, it pays the highest wages to workers in Nigeria.
“It is the only State in the country that implemented the Minimum Wage across board for both the public and civil servants and Local government employees from grade levels 1 to 17. Therefore, what the Government expects from its workforce at this difficult period in Nigeria is understanding rather than an industrial action.”
In view of this harsh economic reality, Barrister Adeoluwa says “the few misguided striking workers are simply playing the ostrich and pushing an insensitive argument which seems to suggest that the resources of a state with a population of over seven million people (7 million) should be totally devoted to the payment and comfort of civil servants whose population is less than fifty thousand (50,000).”