Workers in Bayelsa state yesterday, called on Governor Seriake Dickson to pay gratuity and death benefits owed pensioners and families of deceased public servants.
The workers made this position known in a joint statement issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and United Labour Congress (ULC) during the 2019 May Day celebration in Yenagoa, the state capital.
According to the state Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Ndiomu, who delivered the speech, the unions called on the state government to make the payment of gratuity and death benefits a priority, saying the development is becoming worrisome.
Explaining further, he said these categories of workers have given their best to the service and therefore, they deserve to be treated as heroes. “Congress further calls for the implementation of 33 per cent harmonization salary increase in the state which has not been implemented since 2010,” he demanded.
Mr. Indiomu also pleaded with the governor to implement the N30, 000 new minimum wage assented to by President Mohammadu Buhari, so as to put smiles on the faces of workers in the state.
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Responding to the workers’ demands, Dickson said that he has been a believer of the N30, 000 minimum wage and would not hesitate to ensure its implementation. He said the state government has agreed to pay the N30, 000 new minimum wage in principle, but that government would have to wait for the wages commission to work out the modalities for payment.
“We will pay the N30, 000 minimum wage, but we must first wait for the wages commission to work out the modalities of the payment structure. Without that, we would not know how the new minimum wage would affect the salary of those in level 15, 10 and 7 as the case may be,” he explained.
Dickson also vowed to weed out teachers that are above retirement age and create job opportunities for young and qualified Bayelsans.
“It is on record that we lack teachers in this state. There is the urgent need to employ more people and post them to schools to teach our children. But, we can’t employ because those who are due for retirement have refused to leave for fresh hands to come in.
“If I say anything, you can take it to the bank because you are sure I would do it. With the cooperation of labour leaders, we are going to wipe out all those that are due for retirement but have refused to leave. We are going to identify them and retire them so there would be room for us to employ more teachers,” he vowed.