John Shiklam Shiklam
The Chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayab, has urged civil servants in state not to celebrate the recent introduction of four- day working week by the state government until they are convinced that there is no hidden agenda.
The state government had on Monday announced that it will commence the implementation of a four-day working week, “designed to help boost productivity, improve work-life balance and enable workers to have more time for their families, for rest and for agriculture”.
However, in a statement on Tuesday in Kaduna, Hayab said on the surface, the policy may appear reasonable, noting however that this might be a subtle move to slash workers salaries.
The statement titled ‘El-Rufai’s four-day working week: workers should not be shortchanged’, wondered how civil servants can rest and engage in agriculture amid economic hardship and insecurity.
According to the statement, “On Monday, the Kaduna State Government announced that it will commence transition to four-day working week for civil servants in the state.
“The government, in justifying this seeming innocuous decision, maintained that the policy is to ‘boost productivity, improve work-life balance and enable workers to have more time for their families, for rest and for agriculture’.
“On the surface, this may appear reasonable, however, looking at the hardship the citizens of Kaduna State have been subjected to by this government through some of its unpopular policies, one begins to wonder how such policy can be of benefit to workers who are struggling hard to make ends meet.
“I advise civil servants in Kaduna State not to celebrate this policy yet until they are convinced that there is no hidden agenda behind it.
“Workers must be sure that the policy is not aimed at reducing their salaries.
“They must be convinced that the government will not wake up one day with another shocking news of salary reduction since the five-day working days have been reduced to four.”
The CAN chairman also urged civil servants to “pray fervently that there wouldn’t be another mass sack before the end of this administration which has brought so much pain and hardship”.
“How can a state that is not secured talk about giving workers time for agriculture and be with family when bandits move about freely, terrorising people in their homes, on the farms and on the highways?
“How can one spend time with family when you have nothing to feed them or provide for their basic needs?” Hayab asked.
According to him, “What Kaduna people truly need from the El-Rufai government is a holistic and honest effort to address insecurity, a true sense of democratic principles of governance with less propaganda. What economic value will this ‘Greek gift’ add to workers?”
The statement said CAN in Kaduna State will continue to pray and support good policies of the government aimed at improving the lives of citizens, adding that the association will continue to speak out against policies that appear not to be in the best interest of the people.
CAN also appealed to members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly “to be on the side of the people and distance themselves from unpopular policies that bring pain and hardship”.