Femi Ogbonnikan writes on the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ogun State Government and Organized Labour over the willingness of the government to pay N30,500 as new minimum wage
he Ogun State Government has joined the states that have agreed to pay the mandatory minimum wage as demanded by the Organized Labour. The administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun has even gone a step further. It surpassed the minimum N30,000 wage by N500. With this, the state government has agreed to pay its workforce N30,500 a month as minimum wage.
This is cheerful news, being a rare feat that is unprecedented in the annals of the state by any government. It is a clear affirmation that the present administration, led by Prince Abiodun places premium on improving the living conditions of its workforce.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020, was the day of reckoning when the Organized Labour and the Ogun State government jointly reached a consensus for the payment of the new minimum wage, with effect from January 1, 2020.
In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the representatives of the Organized Labour, comprising the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Head of Service (HoS), Mrs Mope Chokor, who led the state government delegation, all the parties agreed on the Consequential Adjustment of 27 per cent for Grade Levels 07 and 08 (20%), Grade Level 09 (19%), Grade Levels 10 to 14 (15%) and Grade Levels 15 to 17 (14%).
The HoS expressed appreciation to the Organized Labour for their support and understanding during the lengthy periods of negotiations. She commended the governor for the good gesture and exemplary leadership in improving the lots of the state workforce, a savoury development, which, according to her, would spur on the workers to be more productive and efficient in the discharge of their statutory duties.
She said: “We thank God for the past eight weeks. And finally, we have agreed with the Labour. We thank Governor Dapo Abiodun (MFR), for approving N30,500 minimum wage for workers.
“We believe that this kind gesture will make our workers to be more productive and efficient. And it will translate to more effective service delivery in the state.”
Speaking on behalf of the Organized Labour, the state chairman of the JNC, Comrade Olanrewaju Folorunsho, commended the state governor for taking the bold step in approving the new minimum wage. At the same time, he appreciated the workers’ patience during the negotiations and charged them to reciprocate the kind gesture by working hard and showing commitment, dedication and selflessness in the delivery of qualitative service to the citizens of Ogun State.
Also, the state chairman of NLC, Comrade Emmanuel Bankole, underscored the importance of the successful negotiations that brought about the agreement that was signed in the overall interests of the workers of the state, after they had considered its affordability and sustainability.
“And this agreement would be a morale booster for the workers in general”, said Bankole.
While lending credence to his avowed commitment to the “social contract” he entered with the state workers in his maiden address, shortly after he assumed the leadership seat on May 29, 2019, Governor Abiodun hasn’t reneged on the promise to live up to expectations.
“Whether FAAC or JAAC, our administration is committed to ensuring the regular payment of wages as and when due before the last working day of the month”, averred Abiodun.
Thus, he has been thinking out of the box, devoid of political vendetta or primordial sentiment, at ensuring that the conditions of the workers are germane for good governance.
Reminiscent of his inauguration address as the fifth democratically elected governor of Ogun state, Abiodun assured and promised to prioritise the welfare of the civil servants in the state, rather than compound their problems and deny them of their rights.
“Our administration would provide ‘people-centred’ governance that identifies with their yearnings and, not the one that glorifies the welfare of cronies and family members”, declared Mr Governor.
Also, Abiodun reinforced his commitment to the workers’ welfare at a recent send-forth ceremony organised in honour of the immediate past Head of Service, Mr. Lanre Bisiriyu and 13 other Permanent Secretaries that were retired from the civil service.
According to the governor, the present administration would continue to take action that guarantees industrial harmony between the government and labour.
He said: “Our administration will continue to take the welfare of the civil servants as priority to guarantee industrial harmony. We shall continue prompt payment of salaries, leave bonuses and other allowances. And we shall not forget to pay our senior citizens their pensions and gratuities.
“I am happy that the outgoing HoS mentioned that Ogun State civil servants work with utmost professionalism as longstanding legacies of the former Heads of Service, like Pa Simeon Adebo, Pa AK Degun, Mr Sola Adeyemi and a host of others.
Among the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Abiodun-led APC administration in Ogun State ranks among the few that have taken the welfare of its workers paramount.
“We implore the state civil servants to sustain the utmost professionalism in its day-to-day activities. To whom much is given, much is expected, the individual as a potential supplier of labour is a utility maximizer. Like the government job, what the individual wants to optimize is the returns or outputs he or she gets as a result of investing his or her time in work activities. The individual’s inputs are time and efforts and his or her outputs provide the means or access to baskets of desired outcomes.”
It has also instilled prudence, financial accountability and discipline in the management of the meagre resources at its disposal in order to provide good governance to all and sundry in the state.
––Ogbonnikan, is Media Aide to the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR.