The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has commended Nigerian workers for their resilience and support for government’s effort at re-building the nation, assuring them of continued commitment to their welfare in the new year.
In a new year message signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, the minister said the understanding showed by workers over the challenges the Federal Government faced in repositioning the economy and sanitizing the polity since 2015 was commendable.
He added that the Federal Government has in appreciation made enormous sacrifices to protect the workers and secure their future.
The minister said: “The workforce we inherited in 2015 was one seriously demoralized by decade long unpaid salaries and allowances; a restive workforce with simmering agitations and perennial threats of strike. It was a workforce challenged down by private sector retrenchments and varying unfair labour practices.
“But the Federal Government did not only clear these arrears of salaries and allowances in a record time, the President out of compassion, granted a bailout fund to the States to enable them clear theirs, and further gave an express directive that no worker serving in the Federal Civil or Public Service should be retrenched, the foreboding economic downturn that resulted in recession notwithstanding.
“ Having restored stability to the federal civil and public service, we moved decisively into the private sector and defused raging gale of retrenchment in the Oil and Gas, Construction and the Financial sectors of the economy through a ventilated social dialogue that saved millions of jobs that were already put on the line.”
The statement further read: “notwithstanding teething problems, we initiated, consummated and implemented in record time, the New National Minimum Wage and its consequential adjustment and set up a five Man Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages with prospects of a general wage review and a pivotal focus on re-evaluation of service to synchronize work and earnings with productivity as denominator.”
The Minister, therefore, challenged workers on honest and diligent service while exhorting Nigerians in general on the virtues of love and unity as key to building a strong and prosperous nation.