May Day: Almakura assured workers’ of improved welfare packages

Umaru Tanko Almakura

Workers in Nasarawa State converged at the Lafia sqaure commemoration of the International Workers’ Day.

The occasion which was celebrated every 1st May annually but brought together various labour unions who met in solidarity of the ongoing effort to press home their demands.

The turn out which was not encouraging as compared to other others years, had the Workers’ in the usual dresses singing solidarity songs parading while the governor stood in a mounted podium acknowledging in Cheers.

The state Governor who led other government officials to the event, donated coaster bus to the leadership of NLC in the state and a soft loan of one hundred million naira to workers from level 6 above to enable them own mobility for them selves.

It is with sense of commitment and patriotism that I join you today in celebration of the annual International Workers’ Day, taking places here in Lafia.

Below is an except of Almakura speech to about twenty four thousand workers in the payroll of Nasarawa State civil service.

“Let me congratulate workers the world over on this memorable event. Particularly, I congratulate my dear workers in Nasarawa State for joining their counterparts across the globe in commemoration of the events that led to the continued struggle of workers for better working conditions.

“As you would recall, since the 4th of May, 1886 in Chicago, United States, the labour movement has continued to engender fruitful Government-Labour relationship aimed at bridging the gap between workers and their employers. This symbiotic relationship, no doubt, enhances productivity, industrial harmony and earned decent living for the workforce. This relationship has become a harbinger for both parties to create opportunities for synergy towards elevating the dignity of labour and creating the desired environment for efficient and effective service delivery.

“My dear workers of Nasarawa State, let me state that since our assumption of office about seven years ago, I made a solemn commitment to make the public servants the pivot of this Administration. This is based on my conviction that, without good policy implementation, policy formulation will remain a mere theory and, indeed, a mirage.

“It is on this premise that our first major assignment in office in 2011 was to place the workers of Nasarawa State at per with their counterparts at the Federal level. In this regard, we approved the implementation of the various salary structures of all categories of public servants in the State, including the National Minimum Wage of N18,900 for the mainstream civil servants. This, we did, believing that it is the only way that we will inspire our workers to give in their best in the implementation of policies and programmes of
Government.

” In the same vein, as a labour-friendly Government, this
Administration has always consulted the organized labour in a wide range of issues, especially as they concern the welfare of the public servants in the State. This synergy has continued to strengthen our relationship and paved ways for roundtable solutions to any labour-related issues. This is notwithstanding industrial actions sometimes embarked upon by Labour which is understandable.

“Perhaps, I should say that, as a result of the economic recession witnessed globally in the recent past, Government at all levels was faced with the challenge of meeting the competing demands of the people. This greatly affected our obligation to pay workers’ salaries
as and when due. However, I am happy to state that we are up to date in the payment of 100% salaries to our workers. I assure you that we would sustain this endeavour until the end of this Administration.

“My dear workers of Nasarawa State, alongside the issue of salaries were the pending promotions to deserving civil servants. I am happy to state that the Civil Service Commission had successfully carried out the promotion exercise up to 2017. I assure you that Government is
intensifying efforts to implement the financial implication of the promotions before the end of this year.

“By the same token, I assure you that Government will continue to create conducive working environment for workers in the State. In other words, the welfare of workers will always remain topmost in our policy agenda. It is for this reason that we have sustained our vehicle and furniture revolving loans for civil servants to boost their morale. Similarly, Government is considering lifting the embargo
on in-service training to give our public servants the opportunity to undergo training and retraining with a view to upgrading their capacities for improved productivity in tune with the global best practices.

“Similarly, concerned by the housing needs of our civil servants, we promptly completed the 500 Housing Units at Doma road which provided accommodation for deserving workers. We have also released the sum of One Hundred and Fifteen Million Naira (N115,000,000.00) to the beneficiaries which enabled them to carryout renovation works on the houses which ensured early habitation. In the same vein, we are also considering the possibility of allocating other Government structures to civil servants on owner-occupier basis as a means of easing accommodation problems. Government is also facilitating the construction of 100 Housing Units along Kwandere- Keffi road by the
Federal Mortgage Bank and has allocated a parcel of land for the construction of the estate for the benefit of our public servants.

“My fellow workers of Nasarawa State, in our determination to provide succour to our Senior Citizens, we are consistent in the payment of their pension and gratuity. Just last year, we released the sum of Three Hundred Million (N300,000,000.00) Naira for payment of gratuity to State Government retirees with emphasis on the sick, widows, widowers, the physically challenged, the aged and other disadvantaged groups in the society. In the same spirit, Government has also released the sum of Two Hundred Million (N200,000,000.00) Naira for payment of gratuity to Local Government retirees.

“Let me also inform you that we have concluded arrangements for the recruitment of indigenes of the State to fill existing vacancies in the State Public Service. This is aimed at achieving a twin-goal of strengthening the workforce and at the same time empowering our youth to contribute their parts in our collective endeavour to lift Nasarawa to determine vacancy positions in the Service and advise Government appropriately.

“My dear compatriots, let me take the liberty of this occasion to commend on the hardship faced by our Local Government workers. It is, indeed, disheartening to note that our workers at the Local Government level are still bearing the consequences of percentage payment as their take-home salaries. To be honest, this situation is pathetic and
worrisome. Concerned by this trend, I have decided to personally engage stakeholders at the Local Government administration to devise ways of putting an end to the percentage salary payment.

“It is my belief that, as Government closest to the people, workers at this level of administration deserve decent salary that will energize them to give in their best for the development of grassroots communities. Consequently, it is trite to state that the Local Government administration should engage civil servants at this level into training and retraining. This is another sure way of motivating them to stay put at their places of work, instead of exhibiting truant attitudes to work.

“At this juncture, my dear workers of Nasarawa State, let me reiterate that, as a labour-friendly Government, this Administration will continue to ensure that industrial issues are resolved at a roundtable. I assure you that we would sustain our synergy with a view to strengthening our relationship as a panacea for efficient and effective service delivery, on the one hand, and the overall welfare of workers in the State, on the other.

“On this note, it is my pleasure to once again congratulate my dear workers of Nasarawa State for joining their counterparts the world over in celebration of the 2018 International Workers Day. I wish you a hitch-free celebration.”.

The state NLC chairman, comrade Abdullahi Adeka assured workers of the readiness to ensure government meet up to the demands of the union.

Comrade Adeka advised the state government to diversify in the area of solid minerals to address the growing needs of the state.

If only government give priority to solid minerals and potentials deposited in the state, the cases of workers salaries Nd other entitlement will be a thing of the past .

The NLC chairman called on the state to to pay 100% of pensioners allowances and monthly payment of their gratuity to cushion their plight.

He appealed to governor Almakura “to consider the payment of 100% monthly salary to local government workers, reconsider the issue of no work no pay policy and direct the payment of August 2016 salary and may, June and July 2017 salary to all workers that were affected.

“This is necessary in order to alleviate their suffering”

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