Threatens to cut salaries
Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, has questioned the commitment of workers in Anambra State civil service over the continued observance of sit-at-home exercise in the state.
Soludo was addressing the organised Labour at the Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, Monday, during the Workers Day celebration when he complained that most workers see Mondays and certain days within the official working days as an opportunity to abscond from work to attend to other personal businesses.
According to him, despite the crunch economic condition in the country where some states are owing its workforce for a number of months, workers in Anambra are fully paid and as and when due despite them failing to give their best in return.
“Workers give 70-80 percent of their time but are been paid 110 percent at the end of the month. There is an implicit 20-30 percent subsidy. The sit-at-home palaver has become a convenient excuse for workers to absent themselves from work and they turn around to demand for wage increase. We must get our state and service to work. To whom much is given, much is expected. You cannot work 3-4 days and expect salary increase. You must work for five days, then you get your remuneration proportionally.
“Our government remains focused and the promises we made to Anambra people are what we shall deliver, but we need workers to reciprocate the commitment they see in us. Everybody must play his own part. We must get our offices open once again as usual. We cannot be working 70 percent and be earning 100 percent.”
The governor who responded to the addresses read and given to him by leaders of the organised labour unions, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) wherein they requested for wage increment, reassured workers in the state of his determination to give them all that is due to them in terms of salaries, allowances and entitlements.
In the passionate response, which drew across the emotions of the workers, Prof. Soludo took them through the realities of the current socioeconomic situation in the state and and country, asking for understanding and joining of hands in the struggle to move the state forward.
Soludo called on the workers to buckle down and work towards generating revenue to the government in order to take care of the workers’ welfare and other state’s pressing issues.
He said that there is pressure on him to increase salaries and down-size workforce, urging labour leaders to study the proposal.
The governor said the state government had been running on N88 billion budget deficit for the past one year.
He said: “The 2023 budget was predicated on N4 billion internally generated revenue every month but the state has been generating only N2 billion.
“The state was supposed to be getting N5bn from the Federal Government but it is getting less.
“My commitment to the welfare workers is nothing to be advertised. We must unite with the workers. Anything being spoken about workers that this government failed to do means that it is not financially feasible at that point in time.
“Nobody told me about settling pensions and gratuities but I did it when I came on board despite the dwindling revenue when we assumed office. Everybody who have retired before I came have been paid promptly government will make sure that we pay workers pension and gratuities at their point of retirement.”
He reassured that Anambra under his tenure will continue to pay salaries as and when due irrespective of circumstance and economic condition of the country.