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May Day: Ambode commends labour on four years of industrial harmony

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The 2019 May Day Celebration & Rally took place at the Agege Stadium, Lagos with the theme, “Another 100 Years of Jobs, Dignity and Social Justice in Nigeria”. Photo/twitter/followLASG

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Wednesday commended labour unions for their understanding and cooperation in the last four years, which ensured that the state did not witness any industrial action.

Ambode gave the commendation at the May Day Rally, held at the Agege Stadium, Lagos, with the theme, “Another 100 Years of Jobs, Dignity and Social Justice in Nigeria”.

He attributed the industrial harmony and peace in the state to the maturity and cooperation of the labour unions.

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The governor commended the unions for adopting alternative dispute resolution mechanisms rather than resorting to industrial action.

Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Rotimi Ogunleye, said his administration since inception in May 2015, prioritised workers welfare.

“We worked closely with the union leaders to address policy and infrastructural issues,” he said.

The governor said these were the bane of effectiveness and efficiency of workers in the state.

“Having devoted myself to these objectives for the past four years and, having worked with you all, I am glad to say that it has been a pleasure to be your partner on this journey.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am grateful for the cooperation and support that you have given me.

“Indeed, I am pleased that together, we have given the people of Lagos State four productive years of sustained industrial harmony.

“This is, perhaps, the longest period of such in the modern history of our state and this was made possible by the culture of mutual respect and understanding we nurtured and deployed,” he said.

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Ambode said aside regular trainings and seminars that workers in the state were exposed to, the State Government also embarked on a successful campaign of reorientation in the public service.

“This enabled the workers to embrace the ‘Growth Mindset’ in place of the hitherto limiting ‘Fixed Mindset’ that pervaded the public service,” he said.

He said that conscious effort was also made by his administration to meet the pension obligations and reduce outstanding payments, while expanding programmes geared toward providing social safety nets to the aged and retired officers.

“Very importantly, our administration concluded the review of the state’s pension law by signing the amended Lagos State Pension Reform Law in the first quarter of Year 2019.

“This amendment, among others, increased the government’s pension contribution from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent. This is a legacy that we are proud to bequeath to the hardworking officers of the Lagos State Public Service,”he said.

He noted that the theme of this year’s celebration was apt and projecting into the future ahead.

“Indeed, the labour movement in Nigeria has come a long way and yet it remains on the right path, focusing on the values that are of utmost importance to the society and the economy.

“This theme is in line with the Federal Government’s focus on job creation, promoting entrepreneurship and creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

“Jobs are important because they create further wealth and provide the purchasing power that enables the producers of wealth to continue to produce wealth and value.

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“Dignity for workers is essential because it rewards those who diligently and laboriously apply themselves to the everyday work of creating value and earning a living with respect and social recognition.

“Finally, social justice is the only recipe for true peace and harmony in any society,” he said.

Ambode, however, urged all stakeholders to see the occasion as a time to rededicate to job creation, stable work place, equality of all workers, dignity in labour and social justice,

He added that the society must begin to honour, respect, and reward labour and not wealth.

In his remarks, Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Lagos State Chapter, Mr Francis Ogunremi, commended Ambode for his commitment to workers welfare in the last four years.

He said this was especially so in areas of prompt payment of salary, allowances and timely remittance of workers’ pensions.

Ogunremi also lauded the various initiatives of the governor in key sectors which include massive road projects, solving traffic challenges, launching of Traffic Information System, repositioning of State Emergency Agency, scaling up security architecture of the state, among others.

Also speaking, Lagos State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Agnes Sessi, commended the governor for his excellent performance, saying the efforts made so far by him remained a challenge for other states to strive hard to achieve.

She, however, urged the Federal Government to completely drop the idea of increasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) as a means of funding the 2019 budget.


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