Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan
Top officials of the Oyo State Government and labour leaders were, on Friday, locked in a five-hour meeting aimed at resolving the dispute that triggered a three-day warning strike by the state workforce, which ended on Friday.
Leading the government team was the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Olalekan Alli, in company with the Head of Service, Mr. Soji Eniade; Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Seun Abimbola; Special Adviser to the Governor on Communication and Strategy, Mr. Yomi Layinka, among others.
On the labour’s large delegation were the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Waheed Olojede; State Secretary, Mr. Kofo Ogundeji; President of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Mr. Titilola Sodo; and State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mr. Niyi Akano, among others.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, Olojede said that the deliberation was fruitful and that it demonstrated the sincerity of the government to resolve the dispute, adding that the meeting would continue on Wednesday, next week.
He, however, directed workers to resume at their duty posts on Monday, following the expiration of the warning strike, which was in solidarity with the sacked 256 workers of Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, primary school pensioners and striking workers in the six state-owned tertiary institutions.
Olojede said, “We hereby direct workers to resume on Monday, January 29, 2018, as deliberations continue with the government. The issue of tertiary institutions, who are currently on strike, continues for negotiation next week Wednesday.
“We will continue to rub minds with the government on how best to make the current industrial peace in Oyo State sustainable. We thank our members for their strict compliance with our directives. We urge them to go back to work on Monday.
“We have discussed extensively and negotiation and consultation for the purpose of resolving the matters that led to the strike are still on-going.”
On his part, the SSG restated the commitment of the state government to the welfare and wellbeing of the workforce, stressing that it had all along operated an open-door policy with the labour to enhance a mutually-beneficial relationship.
Alli said, “We have discussed extensively on the issues that brought us to this table, which culminated in the three-day warning strike. As you would expect, the government’s door is always open for dialogue and that is what this meeting today has demonstrated.
“We sincerely believe that with the commitment that brought us to this meeting today, which we are adjourning until next week Wednesday, an end is in sight to the dispute. We are determined to sustain our robust relationship with labour.
“On both sides, we remain committed to the advancement of this state, given the spirit of understanding that we have all demonstrated here today. Let me assure the citizens of the state and the workforce that there is no cause for alarm. We are resolute in ensuring that the industrial peace in the state is disrupted.”