The organised labor in Ondo State Thursday night suspended its thirty-day old strike after hours of negotiation with a delegation representing the state government.
Striking workers have now been directed to resume duties next Monday.
A correspondent of SaharaReporters reported that the decision to suspend the industrial action was reached after a 12-hour meeting between the leaders of organized labour and the government.
Labor sources disclosed that the meeting took place at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Alagbaka Government office in Akure, the state capital, amid tight security.
The state government team was led by the Head of Service (HoS), Toyin Akinkuotu, while the labor team was led by the chairman of the Joint Negotiating Public Service Council (JNC), Sunday Adeleye, during the final negotiation.
A labor source told our correspondent that the negotiations began on an adversarial note, before nerves were calmed and an agreement reached.
Our correspondent reported that the government team used security operatives to force reporters away from the venue of the deliberations.
Business and economic activities in the state have been paralyzed since the strike commenced, with many residents fuming over the shortage of funds to buy foodstuff and other items.
Several sources at the meeting told SaharaReporters that the state government offered to pay the striking civil servants reduced salaries in exchange for the workers’ resumption of work.
One of the sources who told our correspondent that the agreement did not meet the demands of striking workers who were demanding payment of their six months accumulated salaries.
“After an aggressive deliberation with the state government delegation, the negotiation plan was finally drawn up and we could not push for full payment,” the source said. He added: “The state government promised to pay one month salaries for the month of January to civil servants, including teachers in public secondary schools.
“Local government workers as well as teachers in public primary schools and pensioners–mostly on grade level 1 to 10–would get February and March salaries.”
“State government-owned tertiary institutions would also get one month subvention for the running of their schools. Don’t forget they generate funds in their respective campuses and they are often in a position to take care of themselves without government funds.”
Our sources said medical and government health workers would receive only two months of their areas under the negotiated terms.
“Staff of the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) would get three months salaries for February, March and April,” our correspondent reported.
One labor negotiator said his team insisted that the government pay the agreed salaries in cash Monday.
Labor sources said the state government promised to settle the remaining arrears through revenues received from the federal allocation as well as the loan being expected from the federal government.
SaharaReporters learned that the two sides agreed on a communique to be released.
“You should be able to get the communique on Friday morning because it’s already late tonight,” one source said.
Other sources disclosed that the two sides spent part of the negotiation trading accusations and blame for the issue of ghost workers.
Labor sources accused the state government of raising the issue of ghost workers as a strategy to push workers into accepting unfavorable conditions proposed by the government.
Labor leaders as well as state government officials are expected to address journalists on Friday morning. The joint communique is expected to be released at that time as well.