The Ogun State Chapter of Trade Union Congress (TUC) said Governor Dapo Abiodun has betrayed the trust they had in his by reneging on his promise to implement the new minimum wage from March this year, saying it was a “feeling of betrayal.”
The TUC Chairman in Ogun, Comrade Akeem Lasisi, disclosed this, Friday, while addressing journalists on the occasion of the 2020 Workers’ Day Celebration.
But, the Governor, Abiodun replied that he would never fail to keep his words, stressing that his “is not an administration that reneges on its promises.”
According to Lasisi, Gov Abiodun has earlier announced that workers in the state would start receiving the minimum wage from March 2020.
However, he said they felt disappointed and betrayed as the state government failed to live by its promises.
He advised the state government to think out of the box and re-engineer its economic machinery in order to pay the new minimum wage, regardless of everything that has happened since March.
While pointing out that workers in the state are part of those who are worse hit by the economic crisis in the nation, Lasisi warned that any attempt to cut their pay will definitely not go down well with the workers.
“In fact, government had earlier announced that workers would be paid their March, 2020, salaries based on the workings of the minimum wage.
“The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Ogun State council wishes to register its shock, disappointment and indeed feeling of betrayal as government failed to live by its promises. We wish to place on record that the Congress was not privy to the decision of the government to backslide from the earlier agreement,” he stated.
Speaking further, the TUC boss expressed concerns that promotion exercises for the State Civil and Public Servants for 2018 and 2019 had not been conducted as at May 1st.
In the same vein, he said the TUC bothered by the nonpayment of the accumulated gratuity to senior citizens, who, it was learnt, have retired in droves from 2012 to date, describing it as “illogical, unwholesome and ungodly” to owe people who, he said had contributed immensely to the economy and stability of the state.
On contributory pension scheme, Lasisi lamented that workers’ “pension deductions and government’s counterpart funding are hanging in the balance”, urging government to stop deductions immediately.
Reacting, Gov Abiodun maintained that he cannot pretend that to be unaware of the fact that Ogun workers expect an official pronouncement on issues concerning their career progression and welfare, assuring them that “we are committed to partnering with labour to address them within the available resources.”
“We have in arrears the promotion exercises of 2018 and 2019, while that of 2020 is due in next few months. There are also the arrears of payment of gratuity to our retirees who have served our dear State meritoriously in their prime years. By far the most pressing however, is the commencement of the payment of the new minimum wage as agreed between Government and Labour, and some others related matters.” Abiodun acknowledged.
However, the governor mentioned that the reality of the present situation makes him understand the prayers that, “May God not allow the unplanned thwart our lofty plans”, saying “man proposes, God disposes”.
He hinted that his administration has set up a joint committee with labour to assess the impact of COVID-19 on staff welfare and identify all the outstanding issues and how these could be addressed in the wake of COVID-19.
He disclosed setting up what he called Staff Loans Board to facilitate access to loans from banks at concessionary interest rates.
While congratulating the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Abiodun revealed that “there will be gradual resumption of work in various government offices for certain categories of public servants from Monday, 4th May, 2020.”
He assured that his administration would do all that is necessary to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19 in Ogun.