From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Organised Labour in Ekiti State has advocated payment of workers’ salaries and promotion arrears, as Governor Kayode Fayemi paid the new Minimum Wage adjustments to senior civil servants in the state.
The labour commended Fayemi for implementing the wage to workers on grade levels 07 and 12, as agreed on December 24, 2020, that the new wage regime should begin for senior staff in January 2021.
The workers on that grade levels were paid the Minimum Wage in their January salaries, thereby increasing the number of staff that had benefitted, with those on grade levels 01 and 06 started receiving the new pay last year January.
Speaking with the newsmen in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday, the Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ekiti Chapter, Sola Adigun, and Secretary, Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Gbenga Olowoyo, said honouring the agreement gave hope that those on higher grade levels 13 and 17 will start benefiting soon.
The TUC Chairman, Adigun, who lauded the step taken by the state government, said the workers would be happier and friendlier to the government of the day, if all the promotion arrears of 2017, 2018, and 2019, as well as outstanding salaries, are paid in due course.
‘I want to confirm that senior workers have started benefiting from the N30,000 Minimum Wage consequential adjustment policy of the government.
‘The agreement we signed last year was that workers on grade levels 07 and 12 should be paid in January 2021 and those on grade levels 13 and 17 will start benefiting when the finances of the state improve.
‘We have set up an economic Review Committee to oversee how monies come into the state and when we see that the finances have improved, then other senior workers will start enjoying theirs,’ he said.
Adigun appealed to the government to also place a high premium on the payment of outstanding gratuities and pensions, describing this as the best way retired workers can breathe a sigh of relief after 35 years of hard labour.
Harping on the need for government to consolidate on the gains of the new Minimum Wage implementation, JNC Secretary Olowoyo described promotion and salary arrears payment as the best way Fayemi can touch every worker now that some senior staff are yet to benefit from the policy.
He said consenting to such payment at this time would further build trust, harmony and smooth working relationship in the system.
Olowoyo stated that gradual implementation of the new wage was better compared with the option of the mass sack in the system, assuring that the organised labour will be tactical and reasonable in dealing with issues than agreeing to option of the sack.
‘Workers are happy because we value one thing, that is honouring agreement signed with us. We appeal to the government to set a three months target, so by April 2021, workers on levels 13 and 17 can start receiving the payment.
‘Again, we agreed with this gradual payment, so that mass sack won’t be an option. Some states where labour compelled their governments to implement across the board not minding the financial implications are now receiving 50 per cent payment monthly, which we are avoiding here in Ekiti.’