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Protest: You can’t bar workers from secretariat, Makinde tells protesters 

Worried by protest by civil servants in Oyo state, Governor Seyi Makinde has warned labour leaders to stop restricting workers from entering the government secretariat.

Governor Makinde handed down the warning in a broadcast Saturday night. 

He said while the leadership of the unions may choose to continue with their protest, they do not have the right to restrict workers from accessing the secretariat to carry out their duties.

The governor stated that in as much as his administration remains “open to parleying with labour to ensure that the rights o workers of Oyo state are protected,” it is glaring that with the Oyo state economy presently, ” any increase in salaries or pensions may not be possible at this time.” 

Governor Makinde added that, “Last week, the Oyo state leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have made it impossible for Oyo state civil servants to resume work at the state secretariat. 

“As a government, we believe individuals and groups have a fundamental right to protest. However, we also believe in the axiom that ‘Your right ends where the right of others begin.’ Therefore, while the leadership of the unions may choose to continue with their protest, they do not have the right to restrict the workers in Oyo state from accessing the secretariat to carry out their duties.

“With the Oyo state economy fragile, any act that disrupts the economic wheels of the state is economic sabotage.  I have directed the state security apparatus to ensure that the workers of Oyo state regain access to the secretariat, starting this Monday, August 7, 2023.

“I am also by this, directing all workers of Oyo state to resume their duty posts on Monday, August 7, 2023. As a government, we remain open to parleying with labour to ensure that the rights of the workers of Oyo state are protected.

We encourage the union leaders to return to the negotiating table to discuss increases in salary or possible harmonisation of pension payments.” 

He stated further, “Let me also state that the Oyo state government remains one of the most committed states to workers’ welfare in the entire federation. Since May, 2019, we have paid all civil servants’ salaries and pensions on or before the 25th of every month without fail. And since January 2020, we have paid the minimum wage and consequential adjustments to all cadres of civil servants every month without fail”.

The governor added that, “Presently, the civil servants’ wage bill stands at N7.2 billion monthly. We have continued to pay this despite having a state revenue below N10 billion monthly. It is, therefore, clear as to why any increase in salaries or pensions may not be possible at this time.”

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