Bayelsa State Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson, has approved the payment of N30,000 new national minimum wage to workers in the state with effect from this month.
The governor, who gave the approval Friday night during a meeting with the leadership of organised labour in Yenagoa, directed the state’s financial team to follow through the template set by the National Wages and Income Commission in implementing the new salary level.
Describing the state’s workforce as hard-working, the governor in a statement, however stressed the need for the public service to remain apolitical, disciplined and professional in the discharge of its duties.
He explained that the meeting was convened to enable the state government and the labour unions to jointly work out the modalities for the payment of the new wage in such a way that Bayelsa would not lag behind in its implementation.
The governor also expressed appreciation to labour unions for their cooperation and understanding especially during the economic recession and urged them to extend the kind gesture to the incoming government with a view to sustaining the prevailing industrial harmony in the state.
His words, “I made you people a commitment that we are not (in principle) opposed to the payment of the N30,000 new national minimum wage. Today, I have made good that promise. Under normal circumstances, there is nothing we pay our hard-working employees that should be considered too much.
“I cannot thank you enough for the support, cooperation, understanding and patriotism you displayed to my administration for the past eight years particularly during the period of the economic recession. My expectation is that the organized Labour will extend this understanding and cooperation to the incoming government.”
In their separate remarks, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade John Ndiomu and Trade Union Congress counterpart, Mr. Layi Julius expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting.
The labour leaders commended Dickson for fulfilling his promise on the implementation of the new minimum wage and assured workers that the issue of arrears arising from the new payment would be addressed by the incoming government.
According to them, the implementation of the new wage cuts across all workers in the public service including primary school teachers and local government council workers in the state.
Comrade Ndiomu added that the governor also promised to complete the construction of the Labour House as well as pay the December salaries of pensioners and workers in tertiary institutions.
The state chairman of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council among other labour leaders lauded the governor for approving the payment of the new wage.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, the State Head of Service, Mrs. Biobelemoye Onyeama assured that all modalities for the implementation of the minimum wage would soon be concluded to enable the government to pay it from this January.
Also speaking, the member representing Yenagoa Constituency II in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Ebiwou Koku-Obiyai said the approval and payment would enhance the income level and welfare of workers in the state.
Hon Obiyai, who described Dickson as the most labour friendly governor she has ever worked with, called on the succeeding administration to consolidate on the existing cordiality between government and labour in the state.
On his part, the Commissioner for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Hon Collins Cocodia, also described the approval as a good development that would enhance workers’ performance and general well-being.