Members of the organised labour in Edo State, Monday, called on the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to redeem the myraids of unfulfilled prises made by his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole.
The State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, made the call as they joined their counterparts in the world to observe the 2017 International Workers’ Day.
Speaking at the event which held at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium in Benin, Ademokun listed the many unfulfilled promises of Oshiomhole to the Workers’ unions in the state to include the non payment of the N25,000 minimum wage to primary school teachers in the state granted last year.
He also listed the building of befitting labour houses to the Unions promised by the former Governor since 2008 among the unfulfilled promises.
He said; “Since 2008, organised labour in the state got promises of befitting Labour Houses from the state government. Till date, non was built or allocated to the NLC and TUC, Edo State Council.
“Our concern at the moment is to inform you that Edo State is the source of labour activism in Nigeria right from the time of Late Pa Michael Imoudu, up to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Comrade Peter Esele.
“It is a thing of shame that the state that produced these labour icons and generals does not have a Labour House.
“We hereby urge your government to please fulfil the promises of your predecessor in office by building for the workers of Edo State befitting twin Labour Houses.”
Also in his speech, the Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Ohue Marshall, urged Obaseki to block linkages in government by drastically reducing the number of political appointees and also improve on its IGR in order to raise necessary fund.
“Furthermore, we expect government to pay attention to it’s buildings and offices to make work environment conducive. Our offices as at today are not qualified to be called offices but simply put, abandoned kitchens. This as a result of complete neglect of various work places by past governments over the years,” Marshall said.
Addressing the workers, the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who promised not to workers, outlined his plans for rejuvenating the civil service.
The Governor who described organised labour as “the strategic place of workers in the wealth creation process” of the state, disclosed that he would stand with both unions and their affiliates to improve working conditions and reward systems for workers in the state.
“I have no doubt that working together and putting the interest of our state first, we can rapidly reposition our state for peace and progress,” he began.
“Be assured that this Government will not take your support for granted. Our most valued asset as a government is our workers. Labour and Government must collaborate to assist the local governments to restructure so they would be better positioned to address their perennial problems of unpaid salaries and pensions, low revenue generation and poor service delivery,” he said.
The Governor also added that it would be setback if the government owed salaries to workers, so he would ensure that all salaries are paid by the 26th of every month.
He reiterated his vow to renovate the Palm House and State Secretariat, adding that the government was concluding plans for a new administrative building in the Government House.
Meanwhile, the State chapter of the Chris Ajaero-led United Labour Congress (ULC), which broke out of the Nigeria Labour Congress last year, observed the Workers’ Day at Ramat Park, Ikpoba Hill, in Benin.
The faction urged members of Nigeria Labour Congress to dump it for the Joe Ajaero-led union to liberate them from “the grips of capitalists masqurading as politicians, trade Unionists and labour leaders in Nigeria.”
Chairman of Edo State chapter of ULC, Comrade Eddy Ossai, noted that though the ULC is presently made up of private institutions, unlike the NLC, they are yet to engage Edo state government on their demands.
Comrade Ossai added that the 2017 Workers’ Day celebration, being the maiden rally of ULC, is the greatest day in the life of Nigeria workers.
He urged the Federal government to stop giving out jobs to foreigners at the expense of Nigerians.
In a goodwill message to mark Labour day, the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuareban II, has called on Nigerian workers and employers of labour to work hard to get the country out of its economic recession.
Oba Ewuare who commended the workers for their steadfastness, resilience and commitment to the Nigerian project, while urging them to be dedicated to their duties at all times in order to be productive, so that they can be counted and rated high in the comity of workers internationally.
The Monarch who expressed confidence that the condition of service of Nigerian workers will improve, prayed that “God will grant the country quick economic recovery and also give the leaders the political will to to enhance the welfare of Nigerian workers.”