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Monday, May 20, 2024

May Day: You’re the Best — Soludo Hails Anambra Workers, Assures of Brighter Days Ahead, Amidst Grumbling over His Absence


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Anambra State Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, has hailed the state’s workforce as the best in the country, giving their inputs and pivotal roles in propelling the developmental wheel of the State.

Governor Soludo gave the commendation on Wednesday while speaking at the 2024 International Workers Day Celebration in the State, which held at the Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, the capital city of the State, which had many top government functionaries, members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the State, including members of the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in attendance.

The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim said workers were indispensable in the development of any society, adding that the state’s workforce has been very instrumental to all successes so far recorded and the achievements so far made by his administration in just two years.

While urging the workers to sustain and even augment the tempo of their inputs, he further assured that his administration would not relent in improving their welfare and addressing the various factors mitigating against their effective delivery of services for the continuous growth and development of the State.

“Without apologies, Anambra Workers are the best, and we will continue to do everything within our capacity to make sure that they do their work happily. It’s one of our priorities to see that the affairs of workers in our State are properly attended to by this present administration.

“To this effect, the labor of our workers will always be rewarded maximally, as we all continue to promote hard work and accountability in the discharge of our duties,” he said.

Responding to the various concerns raised by the workers, the Deputy Governor said, “We are ready to work to make Anambra better. For your requests, we are on it. We have taken all your demands and I assure you that work is in progress.”

“Governor Soludo as a worker-friendly Governor is aware of your plights. You will definitely hear from him soon,” he added.

These responses and assurances notwithstanding, there were, however, mixed feelings among the workers, who grumbled and expressed their displeasure over the Governor’s absence at the event which is celebrated once in a year, and the non-addressing of issues regarding wage increment or cushioning of the effects of the hardship in the country on them. They also lamented that the Soludo has never attended workers’ function since he became Governor, and wondered why it should be so.

Earlier speaking on behalf of the workers, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Humphrey Nwafor, called on the Governor to suspend the deduction of the contributory pension from worker’s salaries, while also calling on him to address what he termed as fraudulent activities at Ndi Olu Microfinance bank, so as to ensure industrial harmony in the state.

“From the beginning of the scheme, monies deducted were rarely remitted to the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA).

“Before the present administration came on board, the state were deducting only the workers part of the contribution even without remitting same to the various PFA’s and refused to pay the government part.

“The organized labour is dissatisfied with the continued deduction, even after the reoccurring May Day prayers by organized labour requesting for the suspension of the scheme.

“We call on the Governor, who we believe is not only worker friendly but hate injustice with passion, as a matter of urgency, to suspend the deduction of the contributory pension from the workers’ salary so as to ensure industrial harmony in the state,” he said.

The NLC Chairman also demanded the constitution of the Judiciary and Civil Service Commission, for easy promotion of workers, even as he appealed to the governor to re-introduce the removed wage award and to retain same till the new minimum wage is signed and implemented in the state.

He also requested the establishment of a Ministry of Labour, low-cost housing for workers, in-service training of workers, and mass recruitment of staff to fill vacancies created by mass retirements, among others.

Group-by-group match past by the workers, who earlier refused to do so, in expression of their dissatisfaction, as well as decoration of some workers for their outstanding performances, formed the highpoints of the event.

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