By Austin Ogwuda
ASABA—FACTIONAL Chairman of Public Service Joint Negotiating Council, PSJNC in Delta State, Mr. Goodluck Ofobruku, has cried out over alleged manipulation within government circles to scuttle the full implementation of minimum wage in the state, saying that his insistence on the payment of the minimum wage was part of the in-fighting that had split the council into factions.
Ofobruku, who spoke to newsmen in Asaba, however, exonerated the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan for short-changing the workers in the implementation of the minimum wage, but rather blamed some top government functionaries for allegedly blocking the memo he sent to the governor on the matter.
He also blamed the logjam on the alleged insensitivity of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour/ Industrial Relations, Mr. Mike Okeme, pointing out that “because of this in-fighting, government is the beneficiary of our fight because that (splinter) group cannot declare an action that workers will obey because we will counter it and if we declare action too, they might counter too.”
Another faction is led by Mr. Tony Toki and is believed to have the backing of the governor’s aide on Labour Relations, Okeme.
According to Ofobruku “when the national minimum wage was approved by the Federal Government, we immediately forwarded a memo to the state government for implementation in 2011 and that same 2011, I think January, a circular came out from the government that they had approved the implementation of the minimum wage for workers in the state. When we forwarded it to the state government, we were invited for negotiation.
That time, those that were always going there to collect money were shamed because government came out with a circular saying that they have adopted it for implementation in Delta State and government started paying.”