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PDP accuses Delta APC of mischief, insensitivity to workers’ plight


{FILES] Okowa. Photo: TWITTER/IAOKOWA<br />

Delta State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), of mischief and insensitivity to the plight of civil servants.

The APC had criticised Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration of shortchanging civil servants in the state and playing games with labour leaders in the state during negotiations that led to a final agreement on the minimum wage that the state agreed to pay.

PDP in a statement signed by its publicity secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, expressed surprised over what it described as APC’s brazen display of ignorance and unbridled hatred for Delta workers in a recent statement by its publicity secretary, Ogheneluemu Imonina.

“This statement not only reflects how ignorant APC is to the processes of negotiation, which is an age-long, established practice in the determination of wages, but it indeed exposes the disdain of the party and betrays the fact that it is not in the least concerned or interested in the welfare of Delta workers and does not wish the hard-working and dedicated workforce in the state well at all.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Delta PDP wants to state categorically that Governor Okowa is one of the first governors in Nigeria to declare openly that the Delta government will pay the N30,000 minimum wage to Delta workers. Instances, where this commitment was affirmed, include the May Day celebrations last year and while receiving the new leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the state,” PDP stated.

It recalled that the Federal Government announced its decision to pay the new wage in April 2018, which it had to scale down considerably from the original figure demanded by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), after intense and often confrontational negotiations with Labour.

“However, it was in October that the final modalities on adjustments and percentages were worked out and an official circular was released to that effect for federal workers.

“Payment of the minimum wage was not negotiable, but the NLC in the states were mandated to negotiate with their governors on the adjustment template for other emoluments, as contained in the Federal Government’s circular,” the party added.

PDP said it decided not to join issues with the APC due to what it saw as “pedestrian clichés and cheap propaganda” the opposition party deployed in its intent to whip up sentiments.

It insisted that the joint press conference where the agreement was signed in Asaba on Friday, January 10, 2020, captured the process succinctly, adding that statements by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chiedu Ebie; chairman and chief negotiator of the organised labour, Goodluck Oforbruku; and chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Martins Bolum, was enough to justify the government’s intent.

“Comments by the SSG and labour at the roundtable have not only clearly debunked the misguided lie of the APC that the state government reneged on an earlier position, engaged in hanky-panky with some labour leaders in the state over the welfare of the civil servants and foisted an agreement of the new wage on civil servants, they have also put paid to the shameless misinformation that there was no consultation and feedback from the membership of the labour unions while the negotiations lasted.”

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