Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo on Sunday, charged workers in Anambra to move from being protesters to becoming solution providers, as his administration is seeking open partnership and working hard to build the Anambra of everyone’s dream.
Soludo was speaking at a ceremony held at the Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, to mark this year’s International Workers’ Day in Anambra State.
The theme of this year’s May Day is “Labour Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria”.
In his speech, the governor encouraged workers to revamp their strategy and value proposition and work with his administration to craft a way forward.
He reaffirmed that he is committed to making the state workers’ welfare a priority and transforming the operational processes of the state civil service to be in line with his vision of ‘everything technology’.
Soludo also gave the assurances that he will continue to ensure prompt payment of salaries, payment of gratuities to retirees under his administration and ensure improved working conditions for workers so they would remain productive and committed to carrying out their designated duties.
“I listened carefully as the Anambra State Chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and her Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart read out their charter of demands.
“Together with the various Unions and their leadership, we shall fashion out the best ways to meet these demands within the limits of our lean resources, and in line with the development plan of the State.
“I have also directed the Head of Service to announce the recruitment of more Teachers into our Public schools.
“This process must be transparent and merit based.
“In the coming days details of how to apply and the screening method shall be made public.
“I am committed to ensuring the safety and improving the welfare of the Anambra Worker.
“Transforming the operational processes of the State civil service to be in line with the technological realities of the time is one sure vision that must be actualized,” he said.
Earlier, the Anambra NLC Chairperson, Comrade Chinwe Orizu said the entire Anambra workers are happy for the future that the governor has committed to leading Anambrarians into and they have no doubt that he is prepared to serve and will deliver on his mandate as clearly stated in his manifesto and inaugural speech.
She noted that the workers are particularly moved at the governor’s vision of turning Anambra State into a prosperous and livable homeland driven by the philosophy of “One Anambra, One People, One Agenda”.
The Anambra labour leader assured the governor of the solidarity, support and co-operation of the entire Anambra workforce in the onerous task of taking the state to greater height.
Orizu harped on the need for the governor to look into the issue of the new Minimum Wage which ranks tops among the challnges faced by Anambra workers.
“Congress wishes to bring to your attention that the new National Minimum Wage of N30000 and its Consequential Adjustment has not been fully implemented in the State.
“What was paid as the new minimum wage was far below what was contained in the signed agreement between organized labour and Government. Congress therefore demand that a minimum of Two Hundred Million (N200,000,000.00) be added to the wage bill of Workers in the State to cushion the effect,” she demanded.
She also identified others issues to include contributory pension scheme, deductions from worker’s salaries for recapitalization of a microfinance bank, inclusion of labour in boards and reconstitution of boards: and settlement of arrears of gratuity and pensions.
“Other issues are Settlement of 10 years arrears of salaries and pensions of Anambra State Water Corporation and Anambra State Environmental Protection Agency (ANSEPA) to alleviate the sufferings they are passing through, Upward Review Of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) from 60% to 100%, recruitment of staff to replace vacancy created by mass retirement in the service, payment of responsibility allowance and other allowances, training needs of workers, low cost housing for workers, labour house and operational vehicles to NLC and industrial unions, among others,” she said.