Covid-19: NLC Kicks Against Govern’s Okowa Plan To Retrench Workers, Slash Salaries

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Governor Okowa had last week invited the leadership of the NLC, the Trade Union Congress, and Joint Negotiating Council in the state to an emergency meeting where they were told of government’s resolve to retrench workers as a result of the inability to sustain the wage bill of the state’s work force.

The Delta State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress has kicked against plans by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to retrench workers as a result of the economic impacts of Coronavirus.

Governor Okowa had last week invited the leadership of the NLC, the Trade Union Congress, and Joint Negotiating Council in the state to an emergency meeting where they were told of government’s resolve to retrench workers as a result of the inability to sustain the wage bill of the state’s work force.

An executive member of the NLC in the state disclosed that the governor gave them some reasons behind his plans to retrench workers.

Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa

 State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

He said, “One of such reasons according to Governor Okowa was that despite the fact that teachers and other workers on salary grade level 1 to 10 were not going to work currently, government had continued with payment of salaries. Government had also continued with the payment of pensioners both in the old and new scheme with high monthly contribution despite the low income to the state.

“The governor also informed labour that due to the present reality on the ground and government’s dependence on FAAC for most activities, the state cannot sustain the current wage bill considering the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s economy and appealed for some sacrifice from the workforce.”

However, the idea of retrenchment brought forward by the governor was vehemently kicked against by the labour unions.

The governor thereafter resolved to slash salaries of workers from grade levels 7 to 17 while 25 per cent will be slashed from political appointees in his administration.

A handful of workers, who spoke with our correspondent on the issue, kicked against the proposed slash in salaries, describing it as insensitive.

Meanwhile, a group, Deltans Lives Matter, has called for the immediate resignation of Governor Okowa over his proposed plan to slash workers’ salaries following the impact of the COVID-19.

The group in a statement by its coordinator, Christian Moses Abeh, noted that if implemented, the move will bring more hardship to the people.

The statement reads, “Governor Okowa should resign for his incompetency immediately. Despite our state receiving the highest monthly allocation and generating money more than Cross River, Ebonyi, Oyo, Adamawa and so many states in the country, our governor is slamming us with hardship yet no meaningful developmental project or policy that will better the lives of Deltans for these monies he has received.”

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