Workers in Ekiti State yesterday held a low key celebration to mark the 2016 Workers’ Day because of the four months salaries owed them by the state government as well as the six doctors who died in a motor accident along Kaduna road last month.
The workers, who wore mournful and gloomy look at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado Ekiti, venue of the event, offered prayers for the rejuvenation of the country’s nose-diving economy to enhance prompt payment of salaries and other benefits.
They also mourned the six doctors and members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) who died recently, praying to God to grant the families the fortitude to bear the monumental loss.
In an address presented by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), they asked the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, to review the state workers’ wage bill which currently stands at N2.6billion, saying the measure became imperative because the same figure was proclaimed byex-Governor Kayode Fayemi’s administration.
NLC Chairman, Ade Adesanmi, in the speech, urged Fayose to pay the workers their gross salaries rather than net, adding that this is the best way the plight of the workers can be alleviated in view of the encumbrances in the payment of salaries due to economic downturn.
Prayers were held for the workers by Pastor Olu Eyebiokin of the Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura, Ado Ekiti and the Chief Imam of the state university, Prof Adesina Abdu-Raheem
Fayose, represented by the Head of Service, Dr. Olugbenga Faseluka, commended the workers in the country for their resilience in the face of biting economic situation, but expressed the hope that the future holds better prospect for the employers and the employees.
The governor noted that the prevailing economic situation must also not be allowed to cause disharmony between the organised labour and the government.
“To my great workers in Ekiti State, I appreciate you. During our first term in office, you know we used to pay salaries before the 25th of every month. When I came back into office in October 2014 and met the poor financial situation our state was plunged into by our predecessors, we still made the effort at being alive to our responsibilities by ensuring regular payment of workers’ salary and other entitlements until even when two months allocations from Abuja became grossly insufficient to pay a month salary,” he said.