…Governor Soludo recently increased workers’ salaries by 10 per cent
Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State has described absence of civil servants in the state from work on Mondays as deliberate, threatening to cut salaries of those culpable.
Soludo who recently increased workers’ salaries by 10 per cent, regretted that the Monday sit-at-home has become an excuse for workers to abscond from work on Mondays, warning that such act must stop.
Addressing workers during the 2023 May Day celebration at the Alex Ekwueme square, Soludo expressed surprise over the number of workers that attended the function despite its coincidence with weekly sit-at-home.
He said, “You cannot be working for just four days a week and earn full salaries. We must get back to working on Monday to the government.
“If we do not go to work, we must not get our full salary. We must be paid proportionally to number of days we work. If we must continue not attending work on Monday, we must direct Saturday work.
“You cannot be working for 70% and earn 110%. This is not good for the development of the state. We must reciprocate the gesture by ensuring we don’t abscond from work hiding under the excuse of sit-at-home.”
The governor maintained that his administration was keen on improving workers’ conditions, but noted that such commitments were not for unnecesary publicity.
He promised that all workers’ entitlements would be given them as long as they were financially feasible.
He however challenged them to reciprocate by improving their service delivery towards increasing the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said, “We’re here to celebrate ourselves and millions of workers in the state. Yes, we may have the orgarnized labor, but let’s not forget that we also have the millions of unorganized that have no voice.
“As a governor, I stand on behalf of all, employed, unemployed, underemployed and self employed. I’ve listened to various speeches from the organized labour who comprise the workforce in the state.
“For me, the solidarity song of the union making us strong is practised by accommodating all workers who are also contributing their own quota towards making Anambra strong, prosperous and livable.
“I equally expect various unions housing workers not only to make their constituents strong, but to show solidarity to all. Let’s always keep our eyes on the bigger picture.
“My commitment to the workers is not what I’ll advertise. Besides, I don’t need you to remind me through your address of my responsibilities. For example, you didn’t tell me about the accumulated pension and gratuity arrears before I cleared them.”
Earlier, state’s chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Emeka Nwafor decried condition of pensioners in the state, regretting that many of them were dying without being paid the retirement benefits.
He implored the governor to look into the case of retirees in the state to enable them start off something towards taking care of their old age and families.
He said, “Congress appreciates Mr. Governor for the efforts made so far in the gradual settlement of arrears of gratuity and pension in the state as promised in the last May Day celebration. Congress passionately appeals to you Mr. Governor sir to graciously increase the fund meant for the settlement of these gratuity to be substantial enough.
“This is to enable the retirees start off something that will help them take care of their old age and families. It is painful to report that some of these retirees are dying of hunger and, most times, they find it difficult to take care of their families and dependents.
“It is on record that since 2014 the contributory pension scheme started in the state, it seems that the scheme was designed not to succeed as monies deducted from workers’ salaries were not remitted regularly to the appropriate quarters.
“The non- adherence to the pension scheme laws has made the organized labour to take a stand that the scheme be scrap and monies deducted from workers refunded back to them.
“We remind you, Mr Governor sir, that this decision is yet to see the light of the day. Congress therefore requests for our dear Governor’s pronouncement stopping further deductions from workers’ salaries in the name of the pension scheme.
The NLC boss further regretted that the state had not maintained full payment of the new minimum wage that was passed into law in 2019.
”Congress desires to bring to your kind attention that the new minimum wage of N30,000 and its consequential adjustment has not been fully implemented in the state.
“Congress, therefore, suggests and pleads that Mr. Governor should look into the agreement of January 24, 2020 between the state government and organized labour over the full implementation of new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment and find a way of implementing it. Workers pressure is becoming increasingly unbearable and we may not continue to hold them,” he explained.
The NLC also urged the state government to implement the new retirement age for teachers as obtained in some other states – 40 years of service or 65years of age, whichever comes first, reminding the governor that states less viable than Anambra had already started the implementation.