Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has assured that the state government will ensure the full implementation of the proposed new minimum wage for workers in the state.
Emmanuel gave the assurance when he consulted the organised labour unions comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) on his second term ambition, at the Workers Solidarity Centre, Atan Offot, Uyo.
The governor remarked that the planned legislation by the federal government for an Act of National Assembly on the minimum wage, has not yet been achieved, adding that Akwa Ibom was also waiting for the direction of the FG in the implementation of the new wage.
“Minimum wage has never been an issue here, it is only that it has to be under what is called legislation and when something is legislation, it is not only a state, it’s a whole country. So, we are waiting for the direction of the country, once they give us a direction, then we’ll know what to do”, the governor stated.
He reiterated that his administration is committed to ensuring improved welfare for the state workforce, explaining that the state government considers it a priority for workers salaries to be paid and as when due.
According to the governor, “In the face of circumstances and what we face in this country, we have done everything sincerely and humanly possible to make sure that our workers do not suffer. Eighty per cent of the circumstances that I pay salaries in this state, I do so under a situation where I have not received any kobo as statutory allocation”.
Emmanuel acknowledged that labour is key to any kind of development, indicating that human capacity is an investment rather than expense and maintained that his administration is focused on building an economy for stronger labour development.
He commended the Labour leadership and workers for a peaceful and harmonious industrial relationship with the state government, noting that “it is not every state that Labour can stay like this with the Governor” and urged them to maintain their peaceful disposition at all times.
While soliciting for support for his re-election, the State Chief Executive stated that his administration has demonstrated sincerity, performance, execution, as well as capacity and implored members of the Labour unions to vote the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at the state and national levels in the upcoming general elections, for continued development of Akwa Ibom and progress of the country.
Earlier, the State Council Chairman of the NLC, Etim Ukpong, applauded the workers-friendly disposition of the Governor, expressing appreciation to the Governor for always paying attention to the needs of workers in the state and pointed out that those attributes were recipes for his re-election.
Ukpong said that the governor’s magnanimity has earned the state administration, the cooperation of labour unions and a peaceful atmosphere, saying, “three years and just four months to end the first term, you have not had any labour restiveness in Akwa Ibom State and we are happy that you have always acknowledged that”.
He mentioned that the Labour unions are satisfied that they are working with someone who understands and appreciate the contributions of workers, noting that the warm welcome accorded the Governor on arrival, was an indication of his acceptability, trust and faith in him to deliver on his promises to the state.
On his part, the Chairman of TUC, Akwa Ibom State Council, Akamba Awah, thanked the Governor for recognising Labour unions as a viable force in shaping the affairs of the state, saluting Emmanuel’s humility at meeting and interacting with the union leaders as a father.
Awah expressed conviction that the state government would ensure implementation of the proposed new minimum wage, assuring of labour support in the Governor’s second term ambition based on his antecedent.
He stated, “Labour is an organised body, we don’t behave anyhow, our Yes is yes and our No, is no. The NLC has 42 industrial unions affiliated to them, the TUC has 24 and the ULC got 7 industrial unions affiliated to them and these are the people that have kept peace for you. We are assuring that you can count on our support”.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the ULC, Bassey Essien, appreciated the Governor for providing a peaceful environment for the state workforce, promising that they would do their part in ensuring the Governor has a smooth sail to his second term to consolidate on his development programmes for the state.