As Nigerian workers on Monday joined their counterparts across the world to mark the Workers’ Day, promises of better welfare for them and anger characterised the celebration across the country.
While promises were made to some workers in the states where activities marking the day were celebrated, in some, the workers boycotted the events, expressing anger over unpaid salaries and poor conditions of service.
LASG: We’ll Phase out ‘Danfo’ Buses to Create More Jobs
The Lagos State Government yesterday explained its new public transportation reform which it said would phase out all yellow commercial buses (a.k.a. Danfo) from the metropolis to generate more jobs.
Consequently, the state government disclosed that it would deploy over 5,000 air-conditioned high occupancy vehicles to replace the commercial buses, noting that the reform would really address the challenges of public transportation confronting Africa’s model megacity.
The state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, shed more light on the initiative at the May Day rally held at the Agege Stadium, noting that the reform would rather create more jobs than cause job loss.
Ambode explained the gains of the reform after the state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Idowu Adelakun, and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Francis Ogunremi, expressed concern that the reform might make thousands lose their means of livelihood.
Imo Govt to Lift Ban on Promotion
Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, has told workers in the state that his administration will lift the ban on promotion as soon as the sanitisation exercise going on in the system is completed.
He stated that the government would like to know the status of those to benefit from the promotion exercise.
The governor spoke while addressing the workers in the state during Workers’ Day celebration yesterday at the Hero’s Square Owerri, where he charged workers to appreciate all that his government has done for them since 2011 when his administration came on board.
He reminded them that they are the greatest beneficiaries of the free education programme in the state because there was no more pressure on them or on their salaries for the payment of school fees of their children and wards especially when the free education policy spread across board from primary to tertiary Institutions.
I Will Not Owe Workers, Obaseki Assures TUC, NLC
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State yesterday vowed that his administration will not owe workers salary, assuring them of cordial relationship between government and the labour force.
Obaseki made the pledge when members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TLC) mark the annual International Workers’ Day at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
Outlining his plans to rejuvenate the civil service, the governor appreciated the strategic place of workers in the wealth creation process of the state, disclosing that he would stand with both unions and their affiliates to improve working conditions and reward systems for workers in the state.
He said:“I have no doubt that working together and putting the interest of our state first, we can rapidly reposition our state for peace and progress.”
El-Rufai Commends Workers for Contribution to Development.
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has commended workers in the state for their immense contributions to the development of the state.
The governor in a statement by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, yesterday to mark Workers’ Day, said his administration would continue to support the workers by improving on their welfare.
The governor congratulated the leadership and members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state on the commemoration of Labour’s Day, commending workers for their doggedness and dedication to the development and unity of the state.
Bayelsa Govt: Why Primary School Teachers Remain Unpaid
The Bayelsa State Government yesterday stated that it pulled out of the joint payment of primary school teachers in the state due to the biting effect of the economic recession.
A statement by the state Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, noted that the government had hitherto shouldered between 60 and 80 percent payment of the teachers salaries, which he said is not its constitutional responsibility.
“The payment of the salary of the primary school teachers and non-teaching staff as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the responsibility of the local government areas.”
Amosun Pardons Dismissed Workers, Pay Withheld Salary
As workers all over the world celebrate International Workers’ Day, otherwise known as May Day yesterday, the Ogun State Government has announced the pardon of three out of the remaining four workers earlier dismissed for acts that were in flagrant disregard of the civil service rules.
Announcing the pardon in his address at the ceremony to mark the event, the state Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, said: “The dismissed workers are pardoned; they will now proceed on retirement from the public service with full terminal benefits in accordance with the extant public service regulations.”
Those pardoned are Messrs Dare Ilekoya, Eniola Atiku and Nola Balogun.
Lalong Charges Workers to Partner Govt to Fight Corruption
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to partner the state government in the fight against corruption, noting that members of NLC must imbibe patriotism to curb all corrupt practices in their work places.
Lalong, who made the call while addressing members of the NLC at the 2017 Workers’ Day celebration in Jos, assured the union of government transparency and openness in dealing with labour issues.
He charged workers to reciprocate the goodwill and sincere effort of the government with a greater commitment to duty and discipline.
Emmanuel Plans Low Cost Housing Scheme for Workers
As part of its improved welfare packages to the state work force, Akwa Ibom Government has planned a low cost housing scheme for civil servants in the state.
The state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, dropped the cheering news at a rally held at the Uyo township stadium to celebrate with the state workers as part of activities to mark the World Labour Day in the state.
The governor noted with concern that most workers retired without owning their personal house, hence the decision for the state government-assisted accommodation for workers in the state.
Emmanuel stressed that the intervention would help workers to retire with high expectation in life as they gracefully retire into their homes; while effectively diverting their pensions and gratuities into other productive ventures, instead of using it to build new house.
Akeredolu Promises 10,000 Jobs through Reforestation
The Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, on Monday said his administration would create 10,000 jobs through reforestation in the state.
The governor made the promise during the May Day celebration which was held at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Square in Akure, the state capital.
Akeredolu said rather than wasting the state resources in the name of reviving moribund industries, the administration would rather establish new ones.
Specifically, he ruled out reviving Oluwa Glass Industries in Igbokoda in Ilaje Local Government Area and the Nigerian Romanian Wood Industries (NIROWI) in Ondo in Ondo West council area of the state, both of which he described as dead.
Unpaid Salaries: NULGE Boycotts Rally in Kwara
Workers under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), in Kwara State boycotted the 2017 May Day rally held at the Ilorin Metropolitan Square.
The rally was jointly organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress(TUC).
Workers in the 16 local government councils of the state are being owed over nine months of unpaid salary areas.
But the state government said it was not owing any workers saying that in the past it has been augumenting the allocation of the council to enable them pay their workers.
The leadership of the organised labour in the state have been accused of selling out by failing to make case for the council workers who have been languishing in penury.
Sheriff Urges Workers to Vote out APC in 2019
The National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has asked Nigerian workers bear the difficulties the nation is going through at the moment, and be ready to vote out the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general election.
In a message issued by Sheriff’s Deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh yesterday, on behalf of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party the party leadership congratulated the nation’s workers on the ceremony marking this year’s workers’ day.
Sheriff also assured the workers that a PDP government would address the issued of a new minimum wage when it come to power in 2019.
FCT Minister Tasks Workers On Patriotism, Improved Service Delivery
Workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been urged to use the occasion of the Workers’ Day celebrations to reflect on the virtues of patriotism, selflessness and improved service delivery to residents of the FCT in particular and the nation in general.
The FCT Minister, Malam Mohammad Musa Bello, made this appeal in Abuja in a message marking the 2017 May Day celebrations in the territory.
The minister who described the workers as the heroes, whose sweat and sacrifices oil the wheels of national development, noted that the crucial role of workers in the task of nation-building cannot be over emphasized saying it can only be likened to the goose that lay the golden eggs, which deserve the best the nation can give.
He remarked that as part of efforts to enhance the welfare of workers, the FCT administration recently commissioned a fleet of 25 number high capacity staff buses intended to assist the staff with easier and cheaper means of movement to work and back home.
I Feel Your Pains, Faleke Tells Kogi Workers
The deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in the last governorship election in Kogi State, Hon. James Faleke, has sent a message of solidarity to the state branch of Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) and other affiliate unions on the untold hardships being experienced in the hands of the state government by the workers as a result of unpaid salaries and allowances spanning not less than 14 months.
In a statement issued to journalists in Lokoja yesterday on the occasion of the Workers’ Day otherwise known as May Day, Faleke lamented the agonies of workers and pensioners in the state despite the fact that bailouts were made available for payments of their outstanding salaries and allowances by the federal government but which the state government has failed to do for upwards of 14 months.
According to him, the multiplier effect of the very unfortunate saga of unpaid salaries spanning more than one year has spiralled to an unprecedented height leading to the virtual collapse of the economy of the state.
“To my dear brothers and sisters who are workers on the payroll of Kogi State government, today is meant to be a day of celebration for you all, a day to sing, dance and merry but the reverse is the case. You are instead witnessing hunger, deprivation, depression and more no thanks to the over 14 months unpaid salaries and allowances. Personally, I feel your pains. I feel your agonies,” he said.
CAN Urges FG to Probe Utilisation of Bailout Funds to States
The Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) has called on the federal government to probe the utilisation of bailout funds to the states.
The President of YOWICAN, Mr. Daniel David Kadzai, made this call yesterday in a statement in celebration of 2017 Workers’ Day.
Kadzai said their solidarity is “with the untiring labor, commitment and sacrifice of Nigeria’s workers whose sweat is the lubricant of Nigerian economy. The workers toil and labour moves the engine of the nations’ growth, yet the workers are the victims of government and private sector abuse.”
He said Nigerian workers have often been abused in the form of denied or delayed wages, delayed gratuity and pensions.
According to him, government policies and corruption has led to a questionable privatisation that destroyed our textile mills, sugar and steel factories to mention s few.
He said: “While saluting the courage and patience of workers in a cash strap, inflationary economy we demand that government should increase the salary of workers, balance the economy as well as check the growing margin between in income earners.
“However, it is sad to mention the sad unpatriotic incessant and protracted strike by some sectors of the labour union. Should soldiers and police go on strike what will be made of our society? What moral right then should doctors and even learned lawyers who swore to professional oath embark on strike?”
“While commemorating and celebrating workers day, we observe with sadness the relationship between the soaring unemployment and the increase in crime and general social vices.
“The relationship between corruption and unemployment is obvious. We therefore strongly demand that the federal government through its agency should immediately commence the probe of all state government utilisation of the bail out funds.
State government should publicly account for how the spend public funds in their trust or be jailed.”
Kadzai also congratulated the labour sector as the only sector devoid of promoting religious interest.
May Day: Excitement as Enugu Workers Honour Ugwuanyi, ‘Most Labour-friendly Governor’
Workers of Enugu State, yesterday, conferred on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi the “Most Labour-friendly Governor Award in the history of Enugu State” in recognition of his administration’s development strides and commitment to their welfare, despite the severe economic crisis in the country.
The state workers, who were visibly joyful, noted that the award was also in appreciation of the governor’s sustained harmonious industrial relationship with the state work force, such as regular payment of salaries, pensions and other allowances on or before every 25th of the month, when many other states could not do so.
The ceremony, which climax was a match past by all the unions under the various ministries, parastatals, agencies, among others, witnessed for the first time, the pensioners of the state participating in the exercise in a joyful mood.
In his welcome address, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Virginus Nwobodo, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for his administration’s feats in the prudent and transparent management of the Paris Club refund, especially the use of 100 % of the Local Governments’ share of the fund to offset the arrears of LG workers’ salaries and some pensions arrears owed pensioners in the 17 councils of the state.
Comrade Nwobodo , also added that the governor as a labour-friendly governor, has made the workers proud through “the promotion of teachers and recruitment of over 1300 primary school teachers as well as elongation of the terminal grade of qualified primary school teachers to level 16; absorption of 54% of total cost of the 100 housing units at Elim Estate allocated to workers within the junior and intermediate grades; implementation of 2006 approved scheme of service for local government employees in the state through the release of senior staff promotions with qualified workers progressing to grade 16 in all the departments; successful conduct of Biometric exercise at the state, among others.
While listing some demands, the labour leader, assured the governor of their support and cooperation, and called on the workers to sustain their current efforts towards service delivery for the benefit of the state.
The state Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe also applauded the governor for “the transparent disbursement of the N4.2 billion bailout fund for arrears of salaries and pensions of the state public servants” and “the ongoing massive infrastructural development in parts of Enugu metropolis and across the 17 local government areas of the state” in line with the vision to open up more rural areas for socio-economic expansion.
He also appreciated the governor for always identifying with the workers, saying that “Governor Ugwuanyi is the only governor who has attended the May Day celebration consecutively since the inception of his administration”.
In his response, Gov. Ugwuanyi who was delighted to see the pensioners participating in the match past with smiling faces, thanked the state chapter of the NLC for the honour bestowed on him barely a year the national body of the congress did same.
Describing Enugu State workers as “committed allies in the struggle to make the State a better place for all citizens”, Gov. Ugwuanyi noted that “while others are lamenting the harsh effects of the recession, we are forging ahead in all areas of development and strengthening the bonds that tie us together. Even our pensioners are not left out in the celebration of this new dawn as they now receive their pensions regularly”.
“We know of course, that these achievements are the result of our collective efforts as people of one family. You have indeed been there for us from the very first day. You have shown us understanding and patience and have freely given us your cooperation as we sought to navigate our way through the very difficult economic and social conditions that we met.
“I have nonetheless, taken due note of all the areas of concern that you have dutifully outlined and I want to assure you that, despite the daunting economic challenges currently facing us, the God that fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, will also make it possible for us to address and resolve these issues satisfactorily and comprehensively”, the governor stated.
WORKERS’ DAY: Okowa Calls For Skilled, Integrity-Based Public Service
WORKERS all over the world, yesterday (01/05/17) celebrated May Day with the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa saying that his administration was committed to highly skilled, merit-driven and integrity-based public service.
According to the Governor who spoke after taking the traditional salute from affiliate Unions of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Asaba, Delta State labour apart from ensuring a public sector that is professionalism-driven, his administration is committed to zero tolerance for corruption.
“As encapsulated in the Delta State Medium Term Development Plan, we are irrevocably committed to the creation of an effective, efficient, highly skilled, merit-driven and integrity-based public service,” the Governor said, adding, “our goal is to build a public sector management driven by professionalism, projects performance and zero tolerance for corruption because, that is the only way we can entrench good governance in the polity and needless to say, we need the support and cooperation of the labour movement to make this goal a reality.”
The Governor commended Nigerian workers, especially, those in Delta State for their dedication to duty which have contributed in no small measure to build Delta State from its inception in 1991, stating, “through your belief, sacrifice and labour, we have made great progress as a state.”
He however, observed, “as we gather here today, the Nigerian worker, like all other citizens, is confronted with economic adversity; more and more families are finding harder and harder to stay afloat as the recession bites harder and inflationary trend continues; the current scenario poses a serious challenge to government and other employers of labour to keep workers motivated, happy and satisfied.”
“Our administration has made the welfare of workers a top priority, while working to ensure better relations between the private sector and the government,” Governor Okowa said, disclosing, “it is in recognition of the unique role that workers play in delivering government policies and programmes that from the inception of this administration, we made the payment of workers’ salaries, the first line of charge.”
He also, clarified that his administration from inception, has not tampered with allocations to local government councils in the state, assuring, “when our economy improves, we will continue to assist the Councils because, it is unfortunate that our brothers and sisters in that tier of government are being owed salaries; for transparency, we included NUT and NULGE in our Joint Accounts Allocation Committee meetings,”
Governor Okowa used the occasion to assure Deltans that his administration will continue to create job opportunities despite the creation of more than 20, 000 jobs within two years of his administration.
He urged workers in the state “to continuously uphold and strengthen the values of honesty, commitment, transparency, fiscal discipline, and excellence in service delivery” to enable his administration actualize its ambitious growth plans.
The Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Michael Nwobodo had called on the Federal Government to step up actions in checking security challenges in the country, observing that despite recession ravaging the country, Governor Okowa has been consistent with the payment of salaries and staff emolument.
Also at the occasion, the Chairman of NLC in the state, Comrade Jonathan Jemirieyigbe in an address thanked Governor Okowa for making himself available to the organized labour, asserting that the Governor has been very friendly to the organized labour.
The colourful celebration was attended by top government functionaries, politicians and the organized