The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta says it will not hesitate to join the Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa led People Democratic Party (PDP) Government to appeal to civil servants for a salary cut when the time in right.
It is, however, no longer news that most economies of the World, including Nigeria and Delta State in particular have been negatively impacted by the dreaded novel Coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic.
But the APC in a statement by Its State Publicity Secretary, Mr Sylvester Imonina on Thursday in Asaba, said that it stood against any move by the state government to slash the salaries its workers under any guise at this time.
The party, while calling on workers to resist any attempt by their union to beguiled them, charged the state government to explore other revenue sources rather then slash the workers salaries.
The statement reads, “The call has become inevitable in view of the recent revelations of the Governor’s underhand scheming in ensuring that he gets his way at all cost towards the unlawful and illegal reduction of the salaries of Civil Servants in the State.
“The State Government should be creative and cut waste by relieving the myriads of Aides that are of no governance value to save the needed funds, instead of the rush to plunge the state into chaos by attempting to slash workers’ salaries.
“Should the State get to the juncture where slashing the salaries of workers become necessary, Delta APC will join hands with the Government to appeal to the Civil Servants.
“Today, the Governor should look inwards and be frugal first”.
The party, however, cautioned the labour leaders to brace up to their responsibility of defending and protecting the rights of workers.
“The fundamental objective of the Nigeria Labour Congress is to protect, defend and promote the rights, well-being and interest of all workers, pensioners, trade unions and the working class in general.
“And any conduct by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Delta State that falls below this standard is unacceptable,” It said
But in a swift reaction
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has described the statement by the All Progressives Congress, APC in the State titled: “Stop Your Divide And Rule Game Amongst Delta Workers – Delta APC To Gov. Okowa” and signed by Sylvester Imonina, Esq., Publicity Secretary, APC, Delta, as another attempt by the State opposition party to play to the gallery to score cheap political points and as all sounds and fury signifying nothing.
A statement by Mr Ifeanyi Osuoza, Delta PDP Publicity Secretary, reads thus: “Once again, we are compelled to respond to the latest spurious and misleading press release by the Delta APC, where it insinuates wildly and recklessly that the Delta State Government is involved in a divide and rule tactics with the Delta State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), over the review of the minimum wage. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
To set the records straight, the Delta State government, in a meeting with Organized Labour, appealed that it cannot continue to sustain the State wage bill against the harsh economic reality occasioned by the Corona Virus global pandemic, which has led to the massive reduction in the Federal allocation and internally generated revenue accruing to the State and which is likely to continue until when normalcy returns to the world again.
The government and Organized Labour unanimously agreed to adopt Option 2, which is to revert to the old wage for grade levels 7-17. They also agreed that the political office holders will forfeit 25% of their basic salaries as a sacrifice.
It is important to inform the APC that health workers who have been on the Frontline in the battle against COVID-19, have been given special attention all over the world and to suggest that government stage-managed a protest to exempt health workers in the review is very wicked, heartless and malicious.
Let us also remind the APC, in case it has forgotten, that Delta State was amongst the first States in the Country to pay the new minimum wage, which commenced in January, 2020 and even paid two months arrears of the minimum wage from the 1st of November 2019. This payment has been prompt and consistent till date, and common sense should even tell the APC that the outbreak of the Corona Virus in March, has affected the whole World and responsible governments are now engaged in the process of adjusting their operations to ensure that wages will continue to be paid, even when work is skeletal in some places or has stopped completely in other areas.
Even Delta workers understand this new reality and we urge the APC to always get its facts right before jumping out to issue unnecessary press statements, especially at a time of uncertainty like this, when the whole world is forced to embrace a new normal which has dislocated our lives and redefined our existence drastically.
We do not wish to join issues with APC’s diversionary argument on the minimum wage matter for the simple reason that the Corona Virus pandemic has presented a very fluid situation where no one knows what will happen next until the world finds a cure or vaccine for it once and for all.
The fact remains, however, that COVID-19 is real and we must all make sacrifices and take personal responsibility in the fight against the dreaded pandemic, by obeying all the public health guidelines and government directives, to curtail the spread and contain the pandemic.” the statement added.
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