Plateau state Governor Simon Bako Lalong said he has taken note of the requests registered before him by the organized labour, among which include the payment of ‘No Work, No Pay’ witheld salaries of workers in plateau state.
He made this statement in his speech during the annual May Day celebration today at the Rwang Pam stadium in Jos, Plateau State.
He went further to say that as a government who cares for the welfare of its people, whose trust they have earned, His government will not renege on its promises.
Read full text of his speech below:
SPEECH OF THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF PLATEAU STATE, RT. HON. SIMON BAKO LALONG ON THE OCASSION OF THE 2017 MAY DAY CELEBRATION IN PLATEAU STATE AT RWANG PAM TOWNSHIP STADIUM, MONDAY, 1ST MAY, 2017
I am sincerely honoured to address you today, on this year’s May Day celebration which is being observed worldwide. History records the relevance of this occasion, which began with the legitimate agitation of workers for shorter work hours that unfortunately ended with the sad loss of lives in 1886, during the Haymarket massacre in Chicago, USA where police fired at demonstrators. The memory of this struggle and the several developments that followed resulted in May Day, being formally recognized as an annual event at the International Congress of 1891 in Paris.
May Day celebration is therefore a historic day which calls on the world and those in Authority in Public and Private Sectors, to reflect on the state of workers and their contributions to National Development.
The theme of this year’s May Day Celebrations “Labour Relations in Economic Recession: An Appraisal” is very apt, considering the challenges our nation is facing economically. Desperate times no doubt demand desperate measures and for us to survive, we must make all the adjustments that are necessary to adapt to the reality on ground. Labour relations is very critical in this regards, because the fiscal, monetary and structural economic adjustments that are made, must be communicated and well understood to be keyed into by the workforce. In almost two (2) years of our existence as a government, the efforts to deliver good governance has come out of the proper understanding of the inexistence of the imaginary divide between leaders and the led, which has seen the labour force perceiving Public Officers in government as foes, rather than partners in Nation building. The synergy that has been fostered with labour has facilitated the delivery of the dividends of good governance.
Though some past developments in organized labour may be sad to recall, the theme for this year’s May Day further puts in perspective the strategic role of the worker as the engine room of government. Through policy formulation and implementation, workers drive the process of governance and they determine by extension the pace for our economic and national development. It therefore behooves on employers of labour to reflect their appreciation of this vital role of the workforce, in building a work environment and putting in place conditions that will motivate patriotic service to our father land.
Permit me to first commend the synergy between the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) which produced this elaborate reception we are witnessing today. This working relationship which has subsumed any reason for industrial rivalry, under the greater goal of collective pursuits and bargain, will go a long way in building and sustaining labour solidarity and unity.
As you celebrate your sacrifices in work, commitment, value and solidarity which the May Day symbolizes, I wish to appreciate organized Labour on a general note, for being a part of the humble strides we have made from our first Day in office to now. You have been partners in the Rescue Project on the Plateau as demonstrated from your support, cooperation and contributions to the development of Plateau State. Your understanding, patience and collective contributions have directly imparted positively on the peace we are enjoying.
I have taken note of the requests registered before government by the organized labour, which include;
- Implementation of minimum wage to Local Government and Primary School Teachers.
- Enrolment of retirees into pension and payment of gratuity to retirees.
- Payment of outstanding 2012 Batch “C” Leave Transport Grant.
- Payment of ‘No Work, No Pay’.
- Timely release of promotion and payment of promotion arrears to all workers in the State. And;
- Approval for the purchase of land for Workers Housing Scheme;
All these issues are receiving attention and my assurances in the meeting which we had with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), as well as my several public reassurances remain our commitment. We will address all the issues squarely within the limits of finances which the Organized Labour is very familiar with the inflow, as a matter of public knowledge. We are within time with the “No Work, No Pay” withheld salaries negotiation which we have endorsed and consented to; we will work assiduously to ensure we do not fall foul of our promise. We are a government of the people whose trust we have earned, and we therefore will not renege on our promises.
As you are aware, notwithstanding the myriad of problems we inherited which border on most of the issues of concern mentioned, that led to the total shut down of virtually all sectors by Labour unrest, our sincere efforts to fulfill the promises we made, have seen us clearing up inherited salary arrears and backlog of pensions. We have also implemented the new Medical Salary Scale in the State; the harmonization of pensions and inclusion of pensioners not captured; the release of promotions and the correction of anomalies in promotions and placements, where juniors are appointed permanent secretaries over their seniors amongst others. All these are part of the improvements in working conditions and reforms we are making, to improve on the general well being of workers in the civil service. You will agree with me that these are also positive signs of our resolve to ensure good Labour – Government relations for the good of all.
My fellow workers on the Plateau, let me reiterate that our government will continue to ensure transparency and openness in her dealings with labour. We appeal for understanding from workers as we make concerted efforts to address all pending issues. The leaders of Labour should also in the same spirit of transparency and sincerity of purpose, contribute their quota in bridging all communication gaps, that will make the workforce doubt the reality of our current challenges, and the sincerity of government’s effort in redeeming the situation.
It is our expectation that our public workers will reciprocate the goodwill and sincere effort of government, with a greater commitment to duty and discipline. We must also with a sense of patriotism do all that is necessary to put a check on all corrupt practices in our work places. The fight against corruption does not only lie with the Executives, but with all Civil Servants as the essential strata of the bureaucratic value chain of governance. You cannot afford to be left out in the collective fight to rid our country of this canker worm that has made our common wealth the private estate of a corrupt few.
Finally, I want to thank you for being partners in the development of Plateau State, and to assure you that we remain open to continuous dialogue and interaction on the remaining labour related issues that are before government.
Together with you in the partnership for a better Plateau, we will bequeath an enviable and enduring Plateau legacy for the future generation.
I wish you a happy May Day celebration and many more years of service to our State and to the Nation general.
Aluta Continua, Victoria Ascerta!
Thank you and God bless.
Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong