Mondays Sit-At-Home: Soludo Tells Anambra Workers to Resume Duties or get Paid Proportionately

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Governor Chukwuma Soludo has tasked workers in the state to work to end the Monday sit-at-home in the state or risk being directed to work on Saturdays.

Governor Soludo gave the charge on Monday during the 2023 Workers’ Day celebration in the state held at the Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka.

The theme for this year’s workers day celebration is ‘Workers rights and socio-economic justice.’

The governor regretted that workers in the state are presently working for only 70 to 80 percent of the duration they are supposed to work, while they are getting paid 110 percent.

Expressing worry that the Monday sit-at-home has become a convenient excuse for some civil servants to dodge work, Soludo said his government may be constrained to pay workers proportionately according to the time they put in.

“It is on record that without prompting, I increased the salaries of workers I Anambra by 10% when I assumed office but presently, they are working 70 to 80 percent of what they are supposed to work while getting paid 110 percent.

“This is due to the sit-at-home palaver which has become a convenient excuse for some workers and on this Workers’ Day, I want to call on Anambra workers to take back our Mondays.

“Workers must get back the state to working 5 days a week or get paid proportionately or get to work on Saturday,” he threatened.

On the demand made by the Nigeria Labour Congress on the welfare of workers, Soludo maintained that anything doable for workers that his government does not do, is only those that are not feasible.

He revealed that his government has commenced the clearance of arrears of pensions and gratuities owed workers since 2018 amounting to over N20 billion.

According to him, he saw it as unacceptable that workers will be owed pensions and gratuities after putting in years of meritorious service to the state.

“Despite the empty treasury I met when he came on board and the very tight economic situation, my government committed to offsetting the arrears.

“I have also made a commitment that under his watch, anyone who retired will be promptly paid their gratuities when they retire.

“Last week, as part of improving their capacities, we doled out 200 laptops and other digital tools to civil servants in the state. Over ten thousand persons are currently receiving digital skills.

“So, we are committed to the welfare of workers as a government,” the governor assured.

The governor however reminded the workers that they have a crucial role to play in ensuring that government has the required funds to meet their increasing demands, adding that the crunch economic situation in the state, it may be unrealistic to meet many of their demands.

“For this year, the budget is predicated on generating about 4 billion a month. So far, the state government has been making only 2 billion monthly.

“Presently, the state is running a deficit of about 5 billion on its expectations from the Federation’s account as allocation.

“Again, my government has not been able to borrow the N100 billion approved for it by the State House of Assembly because it has been negotiating the best loan deal.

“So, a lot of what is in the budget cannot be done because of paucity of funds.

“But as long as the state resources improve, we will meet your demands.

“Workers’ salaries is a first line charge, In many states, payment of salaries have become a prayer point for workers.

“There was the pressure to review the payroll and salaries upwards and cut down the workforce by half, because the cost of maintaining the workforce is increasing.

“But so far, our government has maintained the statusquo of paying its workforce and we have not sacked anyone,” he boasted.

The governor recalled how he had cut down the cost of governance in the state by over 90 percent, saying that every single kobo he has spent from the state coffers was justly deployed.

He said; “When I came in, I met 1,800 political appointees. Today, I have not appointed up to 10 percent of what I met on ground.

“The change stared with me because even the Governor’s House where I’m staying, no single renovation has been made.

“Many politicians who put me in are on my neck demanding for appointments but I have not granted such requests.

“This is because Anambra cannot afford such undue appointments and Anambra cannot under my watch, borrow money for consumption.

“The promise I made to Ndi Anambra, I am determined to fulfill but the workers must do their own part.

“It is my expectation that the civil service will be digitized.

“They must imbibe the culture of entrenching a learning public service where people continuously make efforts to improve themselves. His government will provide the enabling environment.”

Earlier in his remarks, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Humphery Nwafor urged the governor to look into issues of workers’ welfare especially the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustments in view of the economic hardship in the country.

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