THE Trade Union Congress (TUC), in Ondo state, on Thursday, described the allegations by Ondo State government that the union received N10 million from Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, to cause an industrial crisis in the state, as not only false but unfounded.
Refuting the allegation in a statement made available to journalists in Akure, Ondo state capital, the TUC State Secretary, Mr. Clement Fatuase, said the allegation was a ploy by the state government to undermine the agitation by the state workers.
Fatuase said the union would not be gagged or blackmailed saying we will continue to demand the rights of workers in the state in the midst of blackmail and intimidation.
He said no amount of campaign of calumny from any quarters would deter the leadership of the unions from demanding for the rights of workers in the state.
It was gathered that the Ondo State governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, had accused TUC and its chairman, Ekundayo Soladoye, of romancing with the Ekiti state governor, Fayose, when meeting the union leaders in Akure on Wednesday.
However, Fatuase who described the allegation as insidious, said “it would interest the whole world to know that nobody contacted the chairman nor the Congress to verify the allegation before circulating it.
“The Congress and its chairman has distanced themselves from this allegation and also condemn the perpetrators of this devilish act.”
According to Fatuase, the allegation was a deliberate and calculated ploy to weaken the agitations of the Congress and its members for payment of 2017 leave allowance by the state government.
He said, “The Congress is not perturbed by these antics, rather it is more strengthened to continue to agitate for the payment of the leave allowance to those categories of workers that are yet to be paid.”
The union urged the general public to disregard the allegation and restated its unalloyed support for the chairman, Ekundayo, by passing a vote of confidence on his leadership.
The Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) in the state, had earlier in the week, threatened to down tool over the refusal of the state governor, Akeredolu, to give the leadership of the workers’ audience over the payment of their allowances.
The JNC subsequently in a bulletin to workers in the state stated that “despite series of letters written to the government of the state seeking audience to discuss and proffer solutions to lingering challenges(like leave allowances, salary arrears, promotion exercise,), but the state government has been mute on our letters.
“To the above, JNC Ondo state has directed that a bulletin be circulated tomorrow to sensitize workers about the happening in the state, essentially civil service.
“Equally, another letter was written today to demand an audience with the government of the state latest by Monday 25th June 2018. And if the state government fail to grant the audience, industrial harmony may not be guaranteed in the state.”
The union and the state government have been on warpath after the state governor, Akeredolu declared during the May Day celebration that workers allowances would only be paid when the finance of the state can accommodate it.