The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has described workers in the state as the engine room of his development and completion agenda while commending their support to his government
The governor made the commendation on Saturday at the 2021 workers day celebration in the state.
The governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem explained that successes recorded so far in his administration were as a result of industrial harmony provided by the state organised labour, noting that, such gave him the morale to ensure the welfare of workers even with limited resources available.
“We join billions of workers all over the world to celebrate your passion, dedication and unbridled patriotism. May Day, for decades, symbolized a day of deep appreciation of all you have done in furtherance of our vision of growth, development and peaceful coexistence.
“The successes we have achieved for almost six years was as a result of our fruitful relationship. Whenever we’ve had moments of disagreement which is of course expected in the course of human interactions and relations, you always allow a deep sense of circumspection and shared interest to guide resolutions of issues.
“I have always said civil servants are the engine room of our development and success and we have correspondingly done all we could with the limited resources towards addressing your problems and welfare. For six years we have paid salaries consistently and even in challenging circumstances and in the face of other competing interests.
“As you may have seen, we have commenced the payment of backlog of pension and gratuities of retired primary school teachers or their next of kin starting from 1976. We will continue to tackle this issue as resources become available.”
Speaking earlier, the Chairperson of Nigeria Labor Congress, Akwa Ibom State, Comrade Sunny James described the 2021 workers day theme as apt, given the COVID-19 disrupted the socio-economic order in the society.
The theme of the days’ celebration is “COVID-19 pandemic, social and Economic crisis, challenges for jobs, social protection and peoples’ welfare.”
The NLC boss, however, regretted the recurring problems and demands of the Union which had remained unattended due to the government’s lack of political will and not lack of resources.
“When we look at the list of annual Labour demands, made on successive May Days, we realize that most of the problems have persisted, not because of lack of resources, but, rather because of the lack of political will on the part of Government.
“Some of the issues are the articles of collective Bargaining Agreements which the government willingly consented to with full knowledge of all consequential financial implications.” He said.
He advocated the establishment of the State Industrial Relations Committee(SIRC) to foster synergy between the government and the Labour movement as well as a platform for the resolution of labour issues in the State.
In his solidarity message, the member representing Etinan, Nsit Ubium, Nsit Ibom Federal constituency at the Federal House of Representatives, Mr. Onofiok Luke felicitated with workers in the state and called on governments to address the issues that always make them embark on strike reiterating his support to judicial and legislative autonomy
On his part, Chairman of Trade Union Congress in the state, Comrade Dominic Abang said Workers Day should be a moment of sober reflection where the welfare of workers should be looked into and be improved upon.
He noted that the inflation in Nigeria has made ‘nonsense’ of the much-celebrated Federal Government Minimum wage as civil servants’ real income has continued to fall and depreciated.
He also called on the State government to produce a clear development plan for the state as well as reserve funds for rainy days.
The Head of Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien in his remarks commended the civil servants for their commitments and passion even in the wake of the COVID- 19 pandemic.