Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The palpable fear that trailed the payment of the new minimum wage has been allayed in Ogun State. This is because workers received their October salaries reflecting the N30,500 new wage across board.
While lower level officers, got as much as 100 per cent salary rise, those on higher grades got substantial increment. Prior to this, government signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), on the new wage.
Labour had embarked on a warning strike to press home their demands. The strike was suspended three days later, as Governor Dapo Abiodun agreed to implement the new pay. That promise became a reality on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
State chairman, NLC, Emmanuel Bankole, told Daily Sun: “It is our hope that this development will open a new vista of collaboration, trust and understanding between government and labour in the state. The payment will greatly motivate the workers for enhanced productivity and efficiency.”
Acting chairman, TUC, Akeem Lasisi and chairman, JNC, Olanrewaju Folorunso, commended government for “demonstrating a high sense of commitment, which shows that the labour and government are partners in progress.” They pledged that workers would continue to do their best at implementing government policies and programmes: “Labour unions will not relent in their efforts to ensure that the workforce remain committed to the development of the state.”
Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Establishments and Training, Mrs. Lydia Fajounbo, said workers would justify their pay through hard work for effective service delivery. She urged them not to breach the trust reposed in them, but give back by being more dedicated, proactive and committed to duty.
Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Service Matters, Office of the Head of Service, Mr. Dahunsi Ogunleye, spoke on the job creation: “Creation of 5,000 jobs for the youths at this time is an opportunity for growth and progress of the state by Abiodun-led administration, which shows the depth of creative thinking and future mind of the governor. Therefore, the people should have absolute trust and faith in the government for upward movement of the state.”
Two workers in the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Adebimpe Olaitan and Femi Osipitan, said the payment of the minimum wage “was a welcome development.” Oluwafemi Odukalu of (TRACE) said: “I was expecting something close to that increment but when I saw the actual amount added, I was overwhelmed because I didn’t expect that much.” Mrs. Oluwatosin Owotomo, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, appreciated the governor for keeping the promise made and for not paying lip service to the welfare of workers.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Abdulwaheed Odusile, said: “It is a good thing; the governor has promised the labour that he would pay and this is another promise made and kept. This government will always take the welfare of workers seriously, just as it is committed to the welfare of all residents and indigenes of the state.” He enjoined workers to be up-and-doing and dedicated to their work.
The National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners and Association of Resident Doctors, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, also reacted. Its ex-officio and national chairman, Dr. Odusote Rafiu, said the gesture would spur doctors to put in their best rendering efficient service to the people.
President of resident doctors, OOUTH, Dr. Mutiu Popoola, recalled the deplorable state of the teaching hospital. He said the recruitment of doctors and other medical professionals and provision of basic medical equipment, was a clear demonstration of government determination to return the health institution to great shape.
Abiodun told the visiting doctors: “It is important to mention that I am, on behalf of this administration, 100 percent committed to ensuring that we will provide a conducive environment for you to function at your peak and also ensure that it is supported with welfare package.
“I hope that going forward, we will continue to relate and interact in such a manner that if there is any issue that arises by way of misunderstanding or on demands that have not been met, it should be handled in a way that it does not lead to a breakdown of services rendered.” He appreciated the doctors for their selfless service during the COVID-19, pointing out that the pandemic negatively affected the state finances.
At the Arcade Ground, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the governor addressed the workforce: “No nation or state can achieve any meaningful development without workers who are well motivated to perform optimally. We will continue to constantly and regularly pay our workers salary and other benefits to enable them discharge their duties efficiently.
“I know that there has been a breach of trust in the past between government and workers. On our part, we will continue to build trust with you. There should be no mistrust or misunderstanding between us. You are the essence of this administration. I can assure you that we will continue to engage you and I am happy that the trust is being restored.”
While calling for patience, understanding and renewed vigour in service delivery, the governor assured workers that other demands and entitlements would be met as the finances of the state improved.
Head of Service, Alhaja Selimot Otun, maintained that government has well-thought-out welfare programmes for the workers, and that the workforce was poised to improve the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through efficient services to the people.
Representatives of the NLC, TUC and JNC, lauded government team at the negotiation table for showing uncommon commitment that led to the implementation of the new minimum wage.