The economic safety and well-being of the State’s workforce and the common man would continue to take precedence under the watch of this Government.
Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, made the declaration at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State branch, in Ibadan, during a special programme to mark the year 2020 Worker’s Day.
Speaking at the Workers’ Day special programme held in accordance with the COVID-19 protocol of social distancing, Engr Makinde assures Workers in the State that his administration would readily give priority attention to their welfare.
According to the Governor, despite the economic downturn in the country, his administration would continue to pay salaries on the 25th of the month popularly called the ‘GSM Day’.
The Governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Taiwo Adisa, on Friday, May 1, 2020, said, though the COVID-19 pandemic has brought harsh economic effects on the State, with the next few months likely to be difficult, the situation has equally presented an opportunity to reposition the State’s economy.
The State NLC Chairman, Comrade Bayo Titilola-Sodo and the State Chairman of TUC, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran, in their separate remarks at the event, appreciated the Governor for prioritising workers’ welfare, prompt payment of salaries and pensions and for surpassing the 96 months record of the previous administration in pension payment in only 96 days.
The Unions promised to continue to support the administration to do more for their members, just as they presented Governor Makinde with an award of excellence as the ‘Most Worker-Friendly Governor’.
The Governor said: “When I was taking over the affairs of Government on May 29, 2019, I never envisaged that our first Worker’s Day celebration would happen without the usual pomp. No one would have thought at that time, that in just about a year, the world would be thrown into confusion as it struggles to understand a new strain of the Coronavirus disease. But as the saying goes, “you have to take the bad with the good.”
“Historically, this day has been set aside as a holiday in solidarity with workers. It is a day to remember that the labour of workers, in the public and private sector and in the formal and informal sector, is the back on which our economy rests. It is a day to take stock of how we, as a nation, have been treating our workforce and what we need to do to improve their working conditions. It is a day to reflect and assess. It is also a day to commend and appraise. The next couple of months are going to be difficult ones, but we are working hard to mitigate the shocks to our economy. Already, we have secured the cooperation of the Legislature to take a 30 per cent cut to their monthly allocations, while Senior Government appointees take 50 per cent pay cuts. This is because we feel that the economic safety of the workforce must be prioritised.”
Engr Makinde stated that he would continue to keep the promise he made in his inaugural speech to pay workers’ salaries on or before 25th of every month, adding that he has also kept the administration’s commitment to pay minimum wage beginning from January 2020.
The Governor, who also used the occasion to appreciate workers in the State, including Health Workers and others who have been volunteering in one capacity or the other for their commitment, understanding and cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 in the State, regretted how the pandemic has affected workers, especially Private School owners, club owners, event planners, transporters and countless others, whom he said have been most hit by the situation.