MAY DAY: MY ADMINISTRATION LABOUR-FRIENDLY – DIRI
*NLC, TUC, PENSIONERS LAUD BAYELSA GOVERNOR ON WORKERS WELFARE
As workers across the world marked May Day on Friday, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said his administration would focus on labour-friendly policies to alleviate the condition of workers in the state.
He also advocated the need for the organised labour to work towards building a stable and inflation-free economy to enhance workers’ welfare.
Senator Diri stated this while addressing labour leaders as part of this year’s May Day celebration in the state.
In a press release by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, the governor noted that increase in workers salary alone would not guarantee any meaningful improvement in their standard of living.
While saluting labour for their untiring efforts toward bringing about prosperity and national progress, Senator Diri assured that his administration would continually place premium on workers by virtue of its slogan on prosperity.
He however expressed regrets that the COVID-19 pandemic had robbed him of the opportunity to join in celebrating workers being his maiden May Day event.
Responding to the demands of labour, the governor said his administration was aware of the challenges facing civil servants in the state and would constitute an ad-hoc committee chaired by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, to look into their issues.
He said the committee would advise government on how to meet their demands within short and long term periods.
Other members of the committee include Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Konbowei Benson, Head of Service, Mrs Biobelemoye Onyeama, Chief of Staff, Chief Benson Agadaga, and the chairman of the Establishment Committee of the House of Assembly.
On the payment of N30,000 new minimum wage to lawyers in the Ministry of Justice, the governor said already he had directed the Head of Service and the finance team to work out the modalities for payment of the arrears.
He also said the state government was looking into the issue of the minimum wage arrears and the three months salary arrears of some workers in the Environmental Sanitation Authority, with a view to addressing them.
Diri, who called for patience and understanding, reminded workers of the dwindling revenue accruing to the state since he took office in February 2020, stressing the need to look inwards for other sources of funds to address outstanding challenges.
On the need to adopt the Oracle system for payment of salary, the governor explained that his finance team was already implementing the policy and had directed the state government’s financial dealings to be posted on the website to enable it access funds from the World Bank, Federal Government and other organisations.
In a joint address by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) presented by the state NLC chairman, Comrade John Ndiomu, the unions commended Governor Diri for his humane disposition and sense of duty towards workers welfare, particularly retirees in the state.
They applauded his decision on prompt payment of workers monthly salaries, gradual payment of the January salary arrears, payment of gratuity and death benefits, payment of 2014 33% Harmonised Pension Increase, payment of Weigh-In arrears to media workers among others.
The labour leaders highlighted a number of issues affecting civil servants to include the non-payment of promotion arrears to civil servants since 2015, non-payment of the minimum wage to some workers in the rural development authorities as well as the moribund state printing press.
In a press statement, Comrade Ndiomu and the state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Comrade Renner Hobobo, equally hailed the governor for prioritising the welfare of pensioners and retirees in the state.
They expressed gratitude to the governor and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, for fulfilling their campaign promises to retirees.
The labour leaders said since it was sworn in, the Diri administration had been consistent in payment of their monthly pension, implementation of the approved 33% pension harmonization from January 2020 as well as released funds for payment of gratuity and death benefits to pensioners.
“The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Bayelsa State Council and the Nigeria Labour Congress on behalf of our esteemed pensioners in the state wish to express our profound gratitude to Senator Douye Diri and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, for consistently paying our monthly pension, 33% pension harmonisation approval and implementation from January 2020 and to have released funds for the payment of gratuity and death benefits to pensioners in the state,” they said.