Labour Hails Governors Who Pay Salaries, Pension; Describes Gov @AbdulfataAhmed Labour Friendly
Organized labour has hailed state governors that “promptly pay” monthly salaries of workers and pensions of retirees as it charges defaulting governors to put an end to what it calls “crisis of workers’ compensation” in their respective states.
Comrade Issa Aremu, General Secretary, Textile Workers’ Union and member NEC of NLC in a statement in Kaduna at the weekend commended the renewed energy of NLC leadership to ensure public employees in states are paid as at when due. Comrade Aremu also backed the joint Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) 30-day ultimatum issued to Kogi state Government to pay 7-month outstanding workers’ salaries failing which the state faces total labour protests as he also urged government ministries at Federal and State levels to remit contributory pensions of their workers to Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
Comrade Aremu singled out Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, ALHAJI ABDULFATAH AHMED OF KWARA STATE and Malam Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State as “labour-friendly” state governors who pay salaries, pensions, promotion increments and yearly increments of their civil servants. According to the labour leader “the greatest assets of states are their employees” saying governors can only demand for discipline and improved productivity from their employees if their workforce are well motivated.
Aremu observed that nothing including declining oil revenue could justify delayed or non-payment of workers’ salaries adding that payments of salaries and pension are legitimate entitlements and mark of corporate responsibility of any employer and urged governors to reorder their resources in such a way that labour is seen as a critical factor of development before anything else.
“Who ever employs must pay the working man or woman as at when due” he said. He likened non-payment of salaries to what he called “economicide”, which he describes as “a systemic destruction of lives of workers on account of lack of means of livelihood adding that many workers have died due to non-payment of salaries that were never adequate even when promptly paid”.
Meanwhile Comrade Aremu also urged Governors who regularly pay their core civil servants to ensure their local government employees and teachers are also regularly paid.
He said “state workers are not divisible” when it comes to compensation just as when it comes to workers’ service delivery and productivity to the state. He said governors can only be certified “labour friendly” if all workers in their states, private and public sectors, local and state employees are equally dignified with prompt salaries payment.
While hailing President Buhari for bailing out debtor states in meeting the pay obligations to their workers, he said state governors must apply same principle to debtor-local governments adding that 1999 Constitution says that the primary duty and responsibility as well as the primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of the people which can only be made possible with “suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national (minimum) living wage, old age care and pensions, and unemployment, sick benefits and welfare of the disabled”.
As the economy is officially acknowledged to be in recession, the labour leader urged Buhari administration to intensify move towards reindustrialization through diversification and what he called “wage-led economic recovery”.
He observed that Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) had raised the alarm about low demand for locally produced goods, leading to high inventories and low capacity utilization.
“Nigeria can only diversify its economy if workers as consumers are well paid to patronize locally produced goods and services”.
He also observed that Anti-corruption campaign cannot be sustained when workers do not receive adequate salaries on time.
“A hungry worker is not only angry but vulnerable to graft. There is a link between economic growth and wage payment” he noted.