Most employees of the Ekiti State Government on Monday failed to resume duty after the organised labour suspended a four-week-old strike at the weekend.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the development ran contrary to earlier directives by the labour leaders that the workers return to their duty posts on Monday.
A visit by NAN to the main state secretariat in Ado-Ekiti, where most ministries, departments and agencies are located, showed that only few workers reported for duty.
The situation was almost the same the public primary and secondary schools visited.
In one of the schools visited by NAN, only 15 out of more than 50 members of staff had reported for duty at about 10am and idling away.
Also, most primary and secondary school students had to return home.
Some of the workers who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed regrets that the state labour leaders could concede to the payment of just one month’s salary out of the six months owed.
They alleged that many workers, especially teachers, refused to return to duty because of a circular issued by the leadership of the state branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers on resumption.
The union, they said, had asked members not to resume duty on Monday until a sizeable amount of their salary arrears had been paid by the state government.
One of the teachers said: “I heard that the NUT sent out circular directing members to resume duty only if their salary accounts have been credited.
“Even members of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees are expected to hold a meeting today, Monday, June 27, where a decision on whether to resume or not will be taken.”
However, workers of Ikole Ekiti Local Government area of the state resumed for work at the council’s secretariat on Monday.
The NAN correspondent, who monitored resumption of workers in Ikole, also saw pupils and students of public primary and secondary schools in their respective school uniforms smiling to their schools.
A visit to Egbeoba High School, St. Mary Girls’ High School, SUBEB Primary School and Methodist Primary School, all in Ikole, showed that their entrance gates, under lock-and-key since the commencement of the strike, had been opened.
Some of the students and pupils of these schools were busy dusting their chairs and tables, while others were sweeping their school premises in preparation for the commencement of academic work.
Also, workers at the Ikole Local Government Secretariat were seen at their duty posts sorting out files.
Others were discussing the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the leadership of the labour unions and the representatives of the state government that paved the way for the suspension of the strike.
Some of the workers expressed satisfaction with the MoU and urged the state government to make the payment of their salary arrears top on its priorities.
They also urged the labour leaders to monitor the state government’s finances so that it would fulfill its promises whenever it is financially stable.
The Vice-Chairman of the council, Alhaji Azeez Olasoji, commended the government and the organised labour for resolving the matter with maturity.
Olasoji appealed to the council workers to be dedicated and perform their duties with utmost dedication.
He assured them that the council’s management would continue to cater for their welfare.