…Says Delta State Government palliative not enough.
“we believe government in Delta state can do more than the paltry 10,000 naira that have been given out”
The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Delta State, Comrade Goodluck Ofobruku has called on the Federal Government to reach an agreement with the labour Union over palliatives for workers or face a total strike.
Comrade Ofobruku made the call in an exclusive interview with NIM following the two day warning strike of workers in the various affiliate unions under the NLC, which commenced on Wednesday.
“You are aware of the fuel Subsidy removal by the federal government, which has caused untold hardship on workers and Nigerians by extension, and the federal government did promise to give us palliative to cushion the effect of the suffering that we are passing through.
As you are aware the cost of accommodation has gone up, the cost of transportation to and fro work places has gone up, the cost of goods and services have gone up astronomically, hereby making our salaries insignificant to take care of cost.
So we did approach the federal government and he promised to do something. A committee was set up. Three months after the committee was set up, nothing has happened. The committee has not even met for one day” he said.
The state NLC chairman recalled the recent protest of workers against bad government’s policy, where President Ahmed Tinubu met with the leadership of the NLC, requesting for more time till the 19th of August to conclude everything concerning palliative for workers.
Comrade Ofobruku pointed out that the date has come and gone, yet anything had been done or said about the palliative for workers by the Federal government, hence the decision of the Union to embark on the two day warning strike from Wednesday, September 5, to Thursday, September 6 2023, to draw Government’s attention to its unfulfilled promise to workers.
“They have not told anybody anything. Nobody is thinking of doing anything. So they are just wasting our time so that we get used to the hardship and suffering, while they, the elites will continue to make money from the poor. So we decided that this is not what we agreed. We are going on a 2 day strike, to draw their attention that Nigerians are still suffering” he said.
Comrade Ofobruku calles on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency reach an agreement with Labour Union and provide palliatives for workers, or be ready for a total strike on September 21, 2023.
“…on the 21st of September we shall embark on a total strike. So this 2days, Wednesday and Thursday, is just a warning strike to let them know that we are not happy with the way they are doing things” he added.
On the issue of palliative measures put in place by the Delta State Government, the NLC chairman urged the state government to do more.
“the Delta state Government has tried. They have done what they believe is their best, but to us the workers in the Nigeria Labour Congress it is not enough, and we urge the state government to do more”.
He pointed out that giving government workers in the state numbering about 50,000, the sum of 10, 000 naira each for just three months, with many workers excluded from the “3days on and off duty arrangement”, and providing only 26,000 bags of rice for the said “poorest of the poor in Delta state” is not enough palliative measure, compared to other less endowed states.
“the 26,000 bags of rice has been allocated and shared to all the 25 Local Governments, with the believe that they are reaching out to the poorest of the poor. But we say 26,000 bags of rice cannot even take care of a community in Delta, not to talk of the entire Delta state that is made up of about 7million people. When you are talking of the poorest of the poor, what parameters did you use to determine the poorest of the poor? Those are the things we have not said. So as we continue to discuss with them we get to see some of those parameters, and also tell them that Delta state can do more because some states that are less endowed are doing more”. How can Delta state be giving 10,000 (naira) to workers for three months with the hardship and sufferings? he lamented.
“Now they have said those workers in the teaching profession, the health, sanitary and transportation sector are not part of that 3 days/ 2days, off and on working weeks. So if you remove those sets of people, you have already removed about 40,000 of the workforce out of 50, 000. It means that the palliative they have rolled out so far is just for about 10,000 people. For them ( the about 10,000 beneficiaries) its not even enough, not to talk of the 40,000 that you are saying – no they must work everyday. So the 10,000, what will it do? Its not enough, because people are spending up to 2000/ 3000 to work everyday. So to us at the NLC, we believe government in Delta state can do more than the paltry 10,000 naira that have been given out.
Comrade Ofobruku reiterated the determination of Labour to continue to draw government attention to its responsibilities, especially in ensuring the security and welfare of the people.
He urged workers in the state to continue in their support and prayers for the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, assuring workers that the NLC both at the Federal and state levels, will continue to represent their interest.
“We are there for them and will continue to represent their interest. We will continue to draw the attention of Government to the fact at that the primary aim of government is the security and welfare of the people. Any other thing is jara. Government must look at the security and welfare of the people. There is so much insecurity in the land and the government in their programmes so far, they are not being welfaristic. So we would continue to draw government attention to their responsibility and we urge government to listen to us, and ask the people to continue to support us and pray for us, so that we would be able to deliver for them” the NLC Chairman noted.
“I assure them that the Nigeria Labour Congress, both at the Federal and state levels, will never disappoint them” Comrade Ofobruku concluded.