Sunday, December 5, 2021

Ekiti govt suspends minimum wage, slashes salaries of political appointees

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The Ekiti State Government has suspended implementation of the minimum wage for its senior civil servants following dwindling revenues accruing to the state.

The action followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between the government and organised labour on Friday in Ado Ekiti.

Under the agreement, the government partially suspended for three months, the consequential adjustment for workers on grade levels 07 to 12.

However, workers on grade levels 01 and 06 were not affected in the economic adjustment measure as they would continue to earn their N30,000 minimum wage.

NAN reports that those represented the government at signing of the MoU were the Head of Service, Peju Babafemi and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Labour Matters, Oluyemi Esan.

The Permanent Secretary, Office of Establishment and Service Matters, Bayo Opeyemi, also witnessed the signing.

Those who signed on behalf of labour were the Chairmen, Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Ekiti State chapter, Kolapo Olatunde, his counterparts in the Trade Union Congress, TUC, the state chapter, Sola Adigun and Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, Kayode Fatomiluyi, as well as their secretaries.

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The TUC chairman, who read the agreement, said that the suspension of the consequential adjustment for certain categories of workers would take effect from May to July.

Adigun said it was also agreed that the salaries of political appointees and accounting officers be slashed by 25 per cent for a period of three months in the first instance.

He said that the agreement also include the reduction of grant for the running of government establishments.

According to him, the monthly meeting of the `Economic Review Committee’ will convene five days after the meeting of the Federal Account Allocation Committee.

He said that this was to keep the workers abreast of the state’s financial position.

“It was also agreed that 10 per cent Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, being the state responsibility to Joint Account Allocation Committee is to be released to the local governments henceforth.

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“In the pact, government reassured that it would not downsize or retrench any worker as a result of the present economic crunch hitting the state,’’ Adigun said.

The head of service recalled that Gov. Kayode Fayemi had at a recent “State of the State Finance’’ programme, presented the financial report of the state.

Mr Babafemi said that it was evident from the report that the two sides – government and labour, must shift grounds as a response to the economic realities.

“The revenue generating committee has been saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the state work hard and rakes in more monies to finance the state.

“I am confident that Gov. Kayode Fayemi will surely bring his ingenuity and wealth of experience to bear and we shall navigate out of this difficult situation soon.

“We thank the labour leaders for their understanding and show of solidarity,’’ She said.

The SSA to the governor on Labour Matters also commended labour leaders for showing understanding on the matter.

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“The labour has been supporting the government since inception in 2018.

“When government is taking a stiff decision like this, please let us show understanding knowing that this present government is worker friendly.

“Let us continue to be partners in progress,’’ Esan pleaded.

The JNC chairman noted that workers in the state were passing through hard economic times.

“The government must adhere strictly to this agreement because it is a painful one, but we call it a ‘Doctrine of Necessity’.

“We have to abide by it in the interest of our dear state and colleagues in the service.

“No labour leader would want his workers disengaged directly or indirectly and we thank the government for not thinking in this direction. That is the direction we want our colleagues to look at it.

“We are assuring our workers that we will continue to protect their rights always,’’ Mr Fatomiluyi said.

NAN

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