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Ondo street sweepers are protesting their unpaid stipends of five months

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Sanitation workers known as street sweepers in the employment of Ondo state Waste Management Agency on Monday, protested over non-payment of their monthly stipends for five months.

Scores of the sweepers, especially old women and widows, took to the street to protest to the Ministry of Environment, expressing their displeasure over the insensitivity of the agency in charge of the payment of their salary.

They specifically alleged the management of the ZL Global Alliances, a private company in charge of waste management and recycling in the state, as responsible for their woes.

Speaking on behalf of the protesting sweepers, Oluwaseun Ogunniyi, said they were former staff at the Ondo State Waste Management that was contracted by the ZL Global Alliance from 2019.

Ogunniyi explained that they have been sweeping the streets, highway roads, and markets and still being owed the stipend of N10,000 for five months.

She said, “There is no promotion and we are now being paid N10,000 from the N20,000 we used to collect under the state government. They just started paying us N15,000.

“We close as late as 5pm. I use N1000 per day to and from work and I am a widow. We always complain but they don’t answer us. The GM doesn’t stay in the office but has representatives to speak with us since August. So, let them return us where we came from. If they don’t pay us, then we won’t work again.”

She lamented over the danger associated with the job, noting that it was strenuous sweeping on the highway road without adequate protection, adding that they have been employed since the time of the former Governors, Olusegun Mimiko and Olusegun Agagu, “we have done this job and even received awards for it.

“But since 2019 when ZL Global Alliance has taken over the waste management system in the state, they have not been paying our money very well.

“The General Manager always gives the excuse that the government has not paid. Our money for last year’s December, he has not paid, even for Oct, July, and Nov this year, he has not paid.

“Please we appeal to ZL, General Chairman, Ondo State Waste Management, and the Commissioner, Chief Imam and the Oba of Akure, let them pay us, our stipend or we down tool.”

But the Deputy Managing Director, ZL Global Alliance, Tobi Benjamin, while reacting, said the management appealed to the protesting sweepers, saying the management had met with them last week.

He assured that the salary will be paid before the end of the week or next week, “I have had meetings with them but the issue is that some of them had issues with their account and more reason they are not getting paid.

“We had a town hall meeting with them last Wednesday, urging them to be patient as we resolve the challenges inhibiting their payment. What then should have caused this protest remains unimaginable.

“We understand the political situation in Ondo state and how some desperate elements are struggling to hold on to whatever to score cheap political points.

“However, they should know that we are reputable business concern not given to such frivolities. They should therefore stop the attempts at using some of our workers to play their politics.

“For us, we are checking through our records to identify the names of these purported protesters as many of our sweepers still worked today. We therefore wonder where the protesters are from. For the umpteenth time, we like to state that we remain committed to the welfare of our staff in line with global best practices.”.

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