By Adejoke Adeleye, Abeokuta
Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, has called on members of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) and other aggrieved association of workers currently on strike to return to work in the interest of the Nigerians and the economy of the country.
Abiodun made the plea while addressing Ogun workers at MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta during the event organised to mark the 2021 May Day celebration.
The Governor added that his administration is fully committed to clearing all outstanding deductions from workers’ salaries on a quarterly basis.
The governor equally restates his commitment to ensure that a minimum of N500m is set aside to clear backlog of gratuities amongst the various cadres of pensioners under the state government and local government services.
He also assured workers in the state that his government would continue to provide conducive ambience to enhance their productivity, by renovating their various offices.
While noting that Workers’ Day had since grown to become a day exclusively reserved to celebrate and honour all workers across the globe, he saluted workers in the state, particularly the front line workers for the selfless discharge of their duties during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020.
According to the governor, “the workers continued commitment and dedication to duties remains the most significant motivation to our administration’s continued discharge of an all-inclusive and good governance to the people, particularly in almost two years of our administration in Ogun State”.
Abiodun added that his government would not relent on improving the good working relationship created between the workers and the government, by continuing to pay utmost attention to the growth and development of the public servants.
“We remain one of the first few states to commence the implementation of the new minimum wage. As we speak, the 2018, 2019 and 2020 promotion exercises are on-going as efforts are being intensified to ensure prompt approval for the release of promotion letters and commencement of the new payments for the deserving officers immediately after the conclusion of the exercises.
“In addition, our administration recently reviewed the Local and International Duty Tour Allowances (DTAs) upward. All these we do to demonstrate our commitment towards improving our workers welfare, and ensure productivity of the Ogun State Public Service. While we ensure the welfare of our serving public servants, we are also committed to the well-being of our retired public servants who have meritoriously served our dear state.
“We have commenced the distribution of the first installment of quarterly provision of a minimum of N500 million amongst the various cadres of pensioners under the State Government, Local Government as well as commencement of the augmentation of the shortfall on the (write in full) BRT payments. Let me use this occasion to reiterate our commitment to the continuous payment of these gratuities and assure substantial increase of the payment of the quarterly provision as the economy gets better”. He stated.
The governor, disclosed further that the newly launched Ogun State Digital Economy Infrastructure Project (OGDEIP) was one of the practical steps initiated by his administration towards integrating technology into government’s businesses and practices.
These, according to him, include deployment of electronic document management systems, e-procurement tools and digitized revenue collection platforms, especially to improve efficiency and reduce leakages in all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Ogun State public service.
While pleading that workers should collaborate and agitate less, the governor called on the striking workers to put the nation’s interest first by exploring all conflict resolution mechanisms and think always outside strike.
“On this note, let me again, request that all striking unions: Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) and the Resident Doctors who have been on war-path lately sheathe their swords. It is the economy and the people that suffer at the ends of the day”.
Abiodun also called on the workers, to be more proactive, more professional and dedicated in the discharge of their duties, submitting that “by doing this, particularly joining hands with our administration, we will not only improve on the ‘proud legacy of excellence’ that our forebears bequeathed to us, but also create the Ogun State Public Service that will continue to be the trail-blazer in the comity of Public Services in Nigeria”.
The state chairman for Trade Union Congress,Comrade Olubunmi Adebayo Fajobi in his address noted that for six years now public servants in the state have had to contend with incomplete payment of salary, non remittance of deductions and neglect of other statutory entitlements. He also noted that leave allowance is not a bonus pay but the provision of law.
He also hinted that the remnants of 2015-2020 leave allowance have not been paid.
He, however, call on the state government to start addressing the issue gradually if its wants to continue to enjoy support of the state workers.