By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi workers in commemoration of the May Day celebration, Sunday appealed to Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State to review their salaries even as they complained that their take-home pay could no longer sustain their households, considering the present economic realities in the country.
The State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Leonard Nkah made the request while addressing journalists in Abakaliki.
Comrade Ukah said, Ebonyi workers acknowledged the recent promotion released and the regular payment of their salaries by the state government but noted that “the take-home from their salaries, can no longer take care of their households,” and requested “a salary review to enable the workers to cope with the present economic realities in the country.”
The Ebonyi workers, according to the NLC Chairman also appealed to Governor Umahi to increase the workforce of the State, since the interview recruitment exercise for the civil servants was conducted to reduce the rate of unemployment in the state.
“With a due sense of humility, Your Excellency, we kindly request for your consideration and approval of the outcome of the already conducted interview and exams of the applicants for the state civil service because it will help to reduce the rate of unemployment facing the state and country in general.
“We appeal to the governor that since the recruitment interview has been conducted that we expect the workforce should be increased on time so that the next governor will not say the action was targeted to heap wage bill on the administration,” he said.
The workers recalled that “in the public service, in the authorized establishment in the budget of every year, vacancies are created, for conversion and promotion of the workforce and if not implemented, the vacancies created will continue to affect the wheel of service.”
Worried about “The G-35 Saga in Ebonyi,” Comrade Ukah said, “the Organised Labour has observed with dismay the recent incident that occurred in various Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) on the arrival of what should have been the most glorious thing to workers, but regrettably, got into suspicious allegations and victimisation of the innocent administrative heads,” saying “from the available investigation on our table, we found out that almost 90 per cent of the manual typewriters of the offices in charge on the issuance of the G-35 are either dysfunctional or not available.”
While speaking on the present situation encountered by workers, especially those working in Ochuodu Centenary City, Ukah described their experience as pitiable.
He expressed concern about how the workers trek to their offices and homes every day, even under the hectic sun and rain, and however, requested that a mini-transport scheme be provided by the State Government to be taking the workers to their various blocks and back to their residential locations at the close of work to motivate them to exact the energy they would have wasted trekking to their job places more effectively.
He also stated that the workers have acknowledged that “Ebonyi State is not lagging in her commitment to putting smiles on the faces of its senior citizens, but observe that Section 210(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, makes provision for pension review every five years and therefore, request that this should be done for these senior citizens who had contributed their quota in service to the nation.”
He said the workers commended the Governor for his tireless efforts in combatting communal crises in Ebonyi State but noted that the arrears of the previously suspended salaries of the public servants from Effium and Ezza Effium in Ohaukwu LGA should be paid to them, accordingly.
“We got to know that they have received the April 2022 salary but the arrears of the other months are still hanging,” he observed.
The workforce thus, expressed gladness for the recent approval for the release and immediate implementation of arrears and promotions for 2019, 2020 and 2021 by the State Governor, saying “these indeed have oiled the wheel of service for optimal productivity,” and resolved to continue to support him to accomplish his 2023 presidential ambition as they did in 2015 and 2019 respectively, to key developmental footprints streaming across the nation.