Fresh facts have emerged regarding reasons why Comrade Saka Adesiyan-led Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Osun State chapter,was not yielding to the pleas of the current administration in the state, on the issue of minimum wage.
OSUN DEFENDER investigation revealed that about two years ago, when the labour leader ran into financial scandal with his constituency, Nigeria Union of Teachers(NUT), Osun State chapter, and was not allowed to contest for the chairmanship of the union, it was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that came to his rescue.
Facts on ground revealed that ousted Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola-led administration and the then leadership of the PDP in the state had intended to use Adesiyan, who was a staunch member of the party, to calm the rising tension among teachers in the state.
His candidature was then forced down the throats of the union members, who were helpless and had to run to their union’s national secretariat in Abuja for relief.
The National Secretariat of the NUT declared Adesiyan’s election as illegal and thereby disbanded the executive committee under him.
Having suffered defeat at the NUT, the PDP machinery, bent on holding on to the leadership of the state workers’ union, sponsored Adesiyan’s candidature at the last NLC election, where most of those opposed to his candidature, were intimidated.
Since the inception of the Adesiyan-led executive, the state workers, under the ousted Oyinlola era, were subjected to various types of persecution, as labour leaders were found of mortgagingtheir members’ interest to negotiate for their personal gains.
Information revealed that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was consulted by members of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to intervene in the issue, with a view to influencing who becomes the NLC leader in the state ahead of the verdict of the Appeal Court.
It was gathered that the Ijesa-born engineer, insisted that workers should be allowed to enjoy autonomy and decide their leadership without the interference of any individual or government.
It would be recalled that the labour leaders in the state, had, on two different occasions, during the Oyinlola’ administration, shown their loyalty to their pay masters in the state, by recalling the workers back to their duty posts, after money had changed hands.
Shortly before being shown the exit door out of the state government house, the state government, under Oyinlola’s leadership, commenced a compulsory contributory pension scheme, with an alternative that workers should fill a retirement form for 2012 in the event of their refusal to comply.
Inspite of grudges from some of the workers, the labour leaders had initially assured them of the union’s readiness to intervene in the situation, but later sold the workers out, as they had to choose between paying the compulsory fee or sign the retirement form.
Findings further showed that besides acting the scripts of their paymaster, the labour leaders were also protecting the interest of some senior workers, who had signed the compulsory retirement form, forced down on their throats by Oyinlola in conjunction with the labour leaders.
They were said to be attempting to bring government activities to a halt in the state, over the issue of minimum wage in order to benefit from the new wage, before their retirement in 2012.
Investigations also revealed that some rank and file members of the union had started nursing grudges against the senior workers, who they believed were selfish with the extreme measure the labour leaders adopted against the new administration.
Their argument was that the previous salary increment had always been in the interest of the senior workers, who had been earning far above their junior colleagues.
As at the time of filing this report, the labour leaders were struggling to keep the junior workers in the dark concerning the issue of the N19,001, the state government agreed to pay against the Federal government’s N18,000.
Also, the state PDP had commenced activities towards funding the labour leaders, to continue to fight the government with a view to discrediting it before the state’s populace, as some union leaders were said to have attended a factional meeting of the party to get the fund.