There is tension in the Ekiti State civil service over the five month salary arrears owed workers.
The workers are also aggrieved over government’s failure to pay last December deductions.
The state councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiation Council (JNC) have issued another 48-hour ultimatum to the government to pay the December deductions or face an industrial action.
Labour had last Tuesday issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the government to pay deductions or face a strike but this was overshadowed by the national strike called by NLC, which began last Wednesday.
The workers are angry with the labour leaders for giving preference to agitation for deductions rather than the salary arrears.
The December 2015 salary was paid to workers in March but only the net was paid without deductions to cooperatives, check off dues to unions, among other miscellaneous payment totaling N512 million.
The state TUC boss, Odunayo Adesoye, told reporters that labour leaders are meeting at press time to discuss what would be the next line of action, consequent upon another 48 hours ultimatum issued to the governor to comply with the early demand.
Some workers, who pleaded for anonymity, slammed labour leaders for “taking it easy” with the government when many of them had turned to “beggars”.
But a worker, who identified himself as Ojo Ajewole, said: “The labour leaders are no longer representing our interest but only fighting for their own benefit.
“How can they be requesting for the payment of only deduction in December salary when five months salaries have not been paid. This is unheard of. They are advocating for the payment of deductions, so that check off dues to unions can be paid for their own enjoyment,” he alleged.
Adesoye described the allegation as unfounded, saying only N12 million of the aggregate of the deductions will go to trade unions and their affiliates.
He said: “What we are advocating for is the payment of the deductions, so that cooperative societies will be viable enough to lend money to workers to confront the present hardship.
“We were at the meeting for the sharing of the last state allocation, where we agreed that subventions to the State University, College of Education and College of Science and Technology, Ijero-Ekiti should be paid, while the next allocation will be for the payment of other workers.
“We were in that meeting, we participated, we knew the financial position of the state and it was difficult for us to turn around and fight the government on why salaries are not paid.
“The main reason why we issued ultimatum to government on deduction was that, we agreed at the meeting that all deductions on December salary be paid and on that we stand.”