Nigeria – ..signs pact with organised labour, cuts political appointees’ salaries
The State Government approved the new measures after reaching an agreement with the leadership of the Organised Labour following series of meetings on the latest state of finance occasioned by a shortfall in the allocations from the Federation Account.
An agreement to that effect was sealed and signed by the representatives of the government and leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) in Ado Ekiti on Friday.
The shortfall has imposed an expenditure deficit of N750 million per month on the state government which has left the state treasury in dire straits.
Consequent upon the agreement, Governor Kayode Fayemi, political office holders and other top government functionaries are to make a sacrifice of 25 per cent reduction in their monthly salaries for three months effective from May to July 2021.
The consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage approved by the state government for officers on Grade Level 07 to Grade Level 12 would also be put on hold for three months effective from May to July 2021.
It was also agreed that the monthly Running Grants (RGs) released to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on monthly basis be reduced to reflect the latest economic realities on ground.
Another deal struck was that an Economic Review Committee would henceforth meet monthly (five days after Federation Accounts Allocation Committee release) to keep Labour abreast of the financial position of the State and actions to be taken.
It was equally agreed that 10 per cent of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) being the state responsibility to the state Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) would be released henceforth.
The government further reiterated its commitment to workers and also reaffirmed its promise not to downsize the workforce or retrench any worker as a result of financial challenges facing the state.
Addressing a joint press conference with the Organised Labour on Friday in Ado-Ekiti after the pact was signed, the Head of Service, Mrs. Olapeju Babafemi, said the agreement was the high point of interactions Governor Fayemi started on May 4 when he presented a State of the State Address on the financial position and how to address the challenges posed.
Mrs. Babafemi commended the labour leaders for their sacrifice and understanding expressing optimism that Ekiti will successfully navigate through the period of financial challenges.
She assured that the Fayemi administration, which it described as worker-friendly, would be faithful to the terms of the agreement reached with the workers to ensure a peaceful industrial climate in the state.
Speaking on behalf of Labour, the JNC Chairman, Comrade Kayode Fatomiluyi, appreciated the political class in Ekiti for sacrificing 25 per cent of their monthly salaries and also hailed the government for making efforts that would not lead to retrenchment of workers.
Fatomiluyi acknowledged that Nigeria and workers are passing through a very harsh economic climate but noted that Labour would not shirk its responsibility of protecting the interests of workers despite the prevailing situation.
He added: “The labour leadership believes in dialogue and subjecting itself to arguments logically and scientifically and bowing to superior argument. We urge the government to adhere strictly to this agreement.”
It would be recalled that Governor Fayemi approved the reduction in salaries of political office holders in April 2020 at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to ensure continuous payment of workers’ salaries amidst economic challenges posed by the public health situation.