Scores of street sweepers under the ‘Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI)’ of the Lagos State Government on Monday protested their delayed salaries among other grievances, barely two weeks after staging an earlier protest.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protesters, on December 5, staged a similar protest at the Alausa Secretariat, barricading the road and urging Lagos governor Akinwunmi Ambode to intervene to help stop their sufferings.
The workers said that they would prefer to go back to the status quo prior to three months ago, before they were transferred to the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).
The street sweepers, who again blocked the Alausa Secretariat, said that they had to repeat the protest because the promises made to them on December 5, especially over payment of salaries had not been adhered to by the government.
According to them, the workers are suffering due to failure of government to pay them their wages.
“Last week, when we held a protest at Alausa, we had a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Mr Biodun Bamgboye, with the head of LAWMA and other government officials in attendance and we tabled our grievances.
“The government team promised to get in touch with us on Friday but failed to do so, and every attempt to get in touch with the permanent secretary through calls and messages were not answered.
“Even when we visited his office on Thursday last week to see him, we couldn’t see him after waiting for hours in his office because he was not around.
“Yesterday (Sunday) we sent him a message telling him we were coming today if they don’t see us and that is why we are here,” one of the protesters, Oluwatobi Adeyeye said.
Speaking with newsmen after addressing the protesters, Bamgboye said that the ministry had already commenced the payment of the protesters’ November salary.
The permanent secretary said that the approval for the December salary had been received and the ministry was working on it.
Bamgboye told the aggrieved workers to compile the names of those who by Thursday evening did not receive alert, saying such list should be brought to him on Friday.
Bamgboye also said the other grievances of the protesters were being addressed, adding that it was a problem of transiting from one scheme to another.
“The scheme under which they have been operating is not the same with the civil service scheme.
“So the process of transiting from one scheme to the other is responsible for what other problems they have highlighted and it is being addressed; it is a transition problem,” he added.
Some of protesters confirmed that they had started receiving alert for November salary but expressed sadness over the delay in the payment of their salaries.
They urged the permanent secretary to ensure that their December salary was paid in time.
NAN reports that part of the grievances of the sweepers include lack of tools to work with, health insurance, pensions, regularisation of appointment and provision of ID cards.
The sweepers also frowned at working on Sundays, non-observance of all public holidays, planned retrenchment, proposed reduction of salary among others.