Workers in Oyo State were absent yesterday as the state celebrated independence day.
Unlike in past years, members of the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC, were absent at yesterday’s ceremonial march past.
The leadership of Oyo State branch of the NLC has, however, given reasons for not attending yesterday’s celebration of the nation’s 57th Independence anniversary.
NLC State Chairman Waheed Olojede said labour unions would not have attended the programme since the government did not invite the workers.
The union leader, who said he confirmed if the situation is the same with the sister arm, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), added that both groups found it unbelievable that the government could organise such an event without inviting the workers.
According to him, the workers had no bad blood with the state government but had supported the administration all along, despite being owed months of salaries and emoluments.
He said the unions could have used the event to discuss with the government the workers’ outstanding salaries and emoluments since they had been supporting the government without complaints on the matter.
Olojede urged the government to have a rethink of how they treat the workers noting that the workers must be seen as the engine room of any system and backbone of any success they want to achieve.
The union leader warned that using labour as mere tools by those in government would no longer be tolerated by the leadership of the workers.
He said: “Labour sees no reason to attend the Independence Day anniversary since the government also saw no reason to invite us.
“We have been supporting the government, despite having salaries and emoluments outstanding with the government.
“I spoke with my counterpart in TUC and I discovered the situation was the same. The workers would have used the opportunity to intimate the government of our welfare and outstanding salaries but the government decided to shut us out.
“There is no bad blood between the workers and the government. As such, we are surprised that no invitation was extended to the workers.
“However, on behalf of the leadership of the workers’ union, I congratulate the workers on the occasional of the Independence Day anniversary.
“We also call on government structures to begin to have a rethink of how they treat workers. We must be seen as engine room of every system and the backbone of any success they might want to achieve.”