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Civil servants in Akwa Ibom State has reportedly gone wild in jubilation after hearing that the state Governor Udom Emmanuel was ready to pay the new Minimum wage.
The state governor assured the civil servants that he would pay N30, 000 new minimum wage to workers , insisting that paying the amount would not be an issue for the state.
According to him, once the issue of legislation was settled and his administration receives directives from the Federal Government, he will pay the new minimum wage.
Emmanuel made the promise during consultation with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress,TUC, United Labour Congress, ULC and other affiliated unions in Uyo.
He noted that his administration had never failed to pay salaries even in circumstances when the state does not receive federal allocation.
“Minimum wage has never been an issue; it is just that it is a matter of legislation.
“We are waiting for directions from the Federal government, once the direction is given, we will pay in our state.
“In the face of circumstances and what we face in this country, I have done my best to make sure that workers do not suffer.
“I pay salaries in circumstances that I do not receive allocation. You did not elect me to make excuses but to find solution to problems,” the governor said, adding that labour was the bedrock of development in any nation.
He commended the unions in the state for their support so far, noting that on his part, he has fulfilled his promises to the unions.
“I have demonstrated capacity yesterday and can look into the future. I am here today because you people have strengthened me to be here and made it possible for me to be here, and we can talk and negotiate.
“I thank labour for the fantastic relationship between the labour and the state government. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the best blueprint for workers in the country. We need your support in the usual manner for us to win the forthcoming election. Today is the day for consultation.
“I want to thank God for the leadership of the labour and for this state. It is not in every state that labour leaders sit like this with the governor,” Emmanuel said.
Earlier, the State Chairman of the NLC, Etim Ukpong, noted that workers appreciated what the governor was doing and has done, and hoped that he would fulfill all outstanding promises to them.
Describing labour as a very economically and socially variable group, he said that he was happy the governor knows labour has given him support, pointing out that since the inception of Gov. Emmanuel’s administration, “there had been no labour restiveness in Akwa Ibom because you are working with people who can manage the situation.”
The labour leader said further: “Your coming gives us the satisfaction that we are working with somebody who understands the meaning of labour union.
“We welcome you here; you saw how the labour leaders welcomed you.
“They appreciate you and what your government has spent during the period as governor, and as you are leaving this place, you will address what the people want to hear. Our workers want to see the consultation in action.”
The timing of the civil servants has been seen as being strategic considering the forthcoming general elections, which could compel politicians to pay the new Minimum Wage so as to get votes and goodwill of the people during the elections.
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