The organised labour in Ekiti State has urged governments at all levels to prioritize the welfare of Nigerian workers as the spread of Coronavirus continues to have adverse effect on the economy.
The body also told Governor Kayode Fayemi not to contemplate workers’ salary reduction despite the slump in the revenues of government.
The labour unions, comprising Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress, said the current lockdown gives government opportunity to assuage workers’ sufferings by paying their salaries promptly as well as palliatives.
Speaking at a press conference jointly addressed by the Chairmen of NLC, Comrade Kolapo Olatunde and his counterpart in Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Sola Adigun in Ado Ekiti on Thursday heralding 2020 Workers’ Day, the labour leaders called on Governor Fayemi to immediately pay workers’ outstanding salaries, to cushion the effects of lockdown on the people.
Fayemi , had on Tuesday directed a 50 percent pay cut for himself, his Deputy, Bisi Egbeyemi and political appointees be slashed by 50 percent but said workers’ salaries will not be affected.
NLC boss who noted that the menace of COVID-19 has affected every worker said, “We are still being owed three months salary arrears, outstanding leave bonuses, backlog of promotion arrears, while the minimum wage was yet to be implemented across board.
“As of today, the local government workers and primary school teachers are owed six months salary arrears while the secondary school teachers and civil servants are owed three months respectively. We have waited for over one year and we have done our best and make the right sacrifices.
“The national president of the NLC gave me a matching order to tell our governor that the salaries of our workers can’t take them home and there shouldn’t be any reason for government to think of pay cut in Ekiti”.
While appreciating the government and health workers in Ekiti for working hard to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Olatunde said, “The reduction in the number was because the government woke up early to take precautionary measures”.
In his address, the TUC Chairman, Com Adigun, lamented that the wages workers are collecting in Nigeria was never a living wage , expressing optimism that they will breathe a sigh of relief someday .
“We thank the governor and members of his cabinet for sacrificing part of their living wage to fight the menace of COVID- 19 . Workers are not collecting a living wage, so we are not expecting any reduction in our salaries”.
Adigun advised the government to deploy more energy to promote the welfare of the people and devise ways to defeat COVID-19 pandemic, Boko Haram insurgents, kidnapping, corruption and all other acts of criminality in the country.
He urged the state government to encourage farming among civil servants, in the spirit of diversification, to halt sole dependence on federal allocation.