The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, on Friday attributed the delay in the implementation of the new minimum wage for senior civil servants in the state to the spread of the COVID-19 to the state.
The governor disclosed this in an address to commemorate the 2020 International Workers’ Day celebration in Ado Ekiti.
He said the Public Service Joint Negotiation Council was about concluding negotiations on the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage when the effects of the pandemic became manifest in the global, national, and state economy.
Fayemi said the issue had affected the resumption of negotiations, adding that the government was optimistic that the battle would soon be over and the world economy would come out of the present recession.
He added that this would enable the state to conclude the process of minimum wage implementation and its consequential adjustment.
The governor also expressed regrets that the same COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for the lack of fanfare during this year’s Workers’ Day celebration.
He said: “It is a global scourge and we are all in it together.
“As a responsible government, we acted decisively including taking the tough decisions of imposing movement restrictions and directing the majority of our workers to stay away from the office with a view to preventing the spread of the virus in our dear state.
“The labour movement in Ekiti State has also been both resilient and responsible in its approach to labour matters.
“There will always be challenges in life and what defines invincibility is the way such problems are tackled and overcome.
“This period may be tough, but we are resilient, strong, and courageous, these traits have propelled us to overcome adversities in the past and to thrive as a state.”
The governor said despite the unfriendly economic situation, the welfare and improved working conditions of workers had continued to be the top priority of his administration in many other ways.
“Salaries, pensions, and gratuities are being paid as and when due. I am sure you have received your April 2020 salary and all allowances due to our health workers who are at the frontline of the COVID-19 response have been paid.
“We have continued to pay the N30,000 minimum wage for junior cadre in the public service and have reinstated merit-based appointments to elevate the standards of the public service.
“Official vehicles have been allocated to serving and some retired permanent secretaries, while we have increased our investment in training and capacity building for the public service,” he added. (NAN)