There was jubilation in Enugu State, on Tuesday, as civil servants marched through the streets of Enugu to the Government House, to thank Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for being the first governor of the state, since the inception of democracy in 1999, to pay them the minimum wage without rancour.
The jubilant workers, led by organised labour in the state, comprising the state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Virginus Nwobodo; his Trade Union Congress, TUC, counterpart, Benneth Asogwa, and Chairman of Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, Igbokwe Igbokwe, among others, marched from the state secretariat in GRA, through Garden Avenue, Ogui Road and Bisala to the Government House at Independence Layout.
It was such an emotional event as the workers sang solidarity songs, while also thanking Governor Ugwuanyi for paying them the agreed new minimum wage, during the weekend.
They displayed banners and placards with inscriptions such as: “Enugu State workers say thank you His Excellency for the new minimum wage”; “Gburus, Enugu workers say thank you for regular payment of salaries”; “Gburus, thank you for giving us new minimum wage without stress”; “Thank you for regular payment of monthly pensions”; “Gburus, you are a pacesetter” and ”Gburus is our man.”
Speaking at the Government House, Enugu, the state Chairman of NLC, Nwobodo, told Ugwuanyi that “Enugu workers are very happy and delighted that this is the first time since the inception of democracy in 1999 that a governor in Enugu State paid us a new minimum wage without any crisis, stress or industrial action.”
Nwobodo disclosed that the workers were surprised and elated to receive their salary alerts during the weekend reflecting the new minimum wage in line with the agreed consequential adjustment chart.
In his speech, the state Chairman of TUC, Asogwa, listed Ugwuanyi’s numerous interventions towards the welfare of the state workers, such as the 100 units of one-bedroom flats for civil servants between grade levels 01 and10, regular payment of salaries and pensions and the payment of 13th-month salary.
“It’s instructive that Governor Ugwuanyi was recording such feats at a time when many states could not pay their workers’ salaries,” says Asogwa.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, Igbokwe, endorsed the expressions made by his fellow labour leaders, adding “what is happening here today is the first in this country as far as the implementation of the minimum wage is concerned.”
Responding, Governor Ugwuanyi thanked the state workers for their support, solidarity and appreciation in respect of the implementation of the new minimum wage in the state.
The governor stated that the mandate of his administration is to serve the people with the fear of God, and reiterated his firm belief that “a worker deserves his wage.”
He also appreciated the labour unions for the discipline and maturity they displayed in their engagement during the processes that led to the implementation of the new minimum wage.