Governor Godwin Obaseki
*Wants Buhari to declare emergency on food security
*Okowa assures on payment of pension arrears
*Diri approves 100% increase for Bayelsa retirees’ gratuity
*We’re hungry, on tight rope, C-River workers tell Ayade
By Samuel Oyadongha, Festus Ahon, Ike Uchechukwu & Ozioruva Aliu
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, yesterday, announced a new minimum wage of N40,000 for state civil servants and called on the Federal Government to declare an emergency on food security.
Meanwhile, some pensioners in the state, who retired in 2012, yesterday, protested the non-payment of their gratuities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium venue of this year’s Workers Day as
The pensioners who wore black attires and carried placards, appealed to Obaseki to rescue them by paying them their gratuities.
But Obaseki in his address to mark the Workers Day, said to avoid such cases of pensioners being owed, his administration has keyed into the contributory pension scheme, just as he said his administration has paid all pension arrears and would soon commence the next stage which is the various adjustments that had been made in the past.
He said: “We are not a government that runs away from our responsibilities, we will look for a way out to clear all the gratuities. We have cleared all the pension arrears and we will now focus on all the adjustments. I have directed that all the harmonized amounts we have agreed upon, we will begin payment by May this year.
“The purchasing power of an average worker continues to decrease. I want to appeal to the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on food security, if this is not done, we cannot predict what will happen next.
“For optimum performance of our workers, we have resolved to do an upward review of the salary of workers of Edo State, so the Edo State government has now resolved to increase the minimum wage of Edo State civil servants to N40,000 per month.”
Earlier in their speeches, the two workers’ unions, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, applauded the governor on the development of infrastructure in the state.
Acting state Chairman of NLC, Odion Olaye, called on the state government to equip members of the vigilante, who have been providing security and also called for proper funding of the state-owned tertiary institutions by reviewing the ratio 65 per cent:35per cent subvention and appealed to the state House of Assembly to vote in favour of local government autonomy and autonomy to judicial workers in the on-going review of the 1999 constitution besides appealing for the reconstruction of dilapidated public schools where students still learn without chairs and roofs.
Okowa assures on payment of pension arrears
Also, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, said his administration was raising funds to offset some of the backlog of pension arrears of those who retired from the state civil service.
Okowa who was represented by the Secretary to State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, said a number of projects were on going to ensure that he finished strong by May 2023, adding that measures would be taken to address the issue of soaring house rent in Asaba.
On the crisis in the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, leadership in the state, the governor said the state government would provide valuable advice in order to have peace, unity and harmony within the work force.
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, state chairman, Goodluck Ofobruku, called on the government to urgently intervene in the soaring rents workers were being made to pay in Asaba.
Ofobruku, however, commended Governor Okowa for paying attention to the welfare of workers through his labour friendly policies.
In his remarks, the state Head of Service, Mr. Reginald Bayoko praised workers in the state for their resourcefulness, enjoining them to use the 2022 May Day celebration to reflect and reaffirm their commitment to service of their fatherland.
Diri approves 100% increase for Bayelsa retirees’ gratuity
In Yenagoa, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, has approved additional N200 million for the payment of pensioners’ gratuity for the month of May.
Diri, who gave the approval, yesterday, at this year’s Workers Day celebration while responding to the demands of labour leadership in the state, assured retirees that N400 million would be made available this month to accommodate a sizeable number of pensioners in view of the backlog of arrears.
He said: “I am not unaware of the long queue for pensioners’ gratuity monthly. As you are aware, we are treating the backlog of payment of gratuity.
“Therefore, for the month of February, we have looked at the figure and have come up with an addition. Monthly, we release N200 million for pension and gratuities. This month, we will add an additional N200 million. In other words, N400 million will be made available for the payment of pensions and gratuities.”
Appreciating workers in the state for their support and the existing harmonious industrial relationship with his administration, he noted that his government had prioritised workers welfare to enhance productivity.
Diri also approved a number of the workers requests, which include implementation of the annual step increment as well as the release of funds for conduct of the 2022 promotion exercise for both at the state and local government levels.
He also approved the financial implementation of 2021 promotion exercise for workers and directed the relevant government officials to negotiate with labour to come up with feasible recommendations as soon as possible.
We are hungry, on tight rope, C-River workers tell Ayade
In Calabar, Organised Labour in Cross River State comprising Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, has disclosed that civil servants in the state were very hungry and on a tight rope, urging Governor Ben Ayade to remember his “food on the table” mantra and fulfill agreements they have so far signed to make life easy for workers across the state.
Labour also commended the governor for providing N200 million for the payment of gratuities while appealing that the money be increased and released on a monthly basis in view of the humongous gratuity liability.
Addressing workers at the U. J Esuene Sports Stadium, Calabar, NLC chairman, Ben Ukpebi, said: “Workers day provides an opportunity for appraisal of existing relationship between government and workers.
“It is on this premise that we use this occasion to remind government of pending unresolved issues as stated in the MoU between Cross River State government and organised labour .
“These include but not limited to the following: That the failure to implement promotion of deserving Civil Servant from 2016 till date is worrisome.
“That the contract for supply of computers to workers should be terminate and committee set up to ascertain the outstanding liabilities.
“The full implementation of minimum wage for workers is still pending, we pray the governor to do the needful. That the balance of 27.5percent to teachers is yet to be implemented amongst others.”
Ukpebi urged Nigerian workers, civil society and labour to join hands with NLC/TUC to continue to tackle the consequences of labour politics and quest for good governance.
On his part TUC chairman in the state, Monday Ogbodum, while lauding Governor Ayade for releasing N200 million for payment of gratuities, reminded him that workers were hungry and hanging on tight rope as so many of the agreements reached between organised labour and government were yet to be fulfilled.
Ogbodum recalled that on the issue of annual incremental step which was to take effect from January, 2022, government has failed and refused to implement it and same goes for the payrolling of the newly employed staff, who were verified here in the stadium and witnessed by the governor himself.
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