The Bayelsa State Government has set up an 18-member Committee to look into promotion and minimum wage issues raised by labour unions to ensure industrial harmony in the state.
This was contained in a statement by Mr Doubara Atasi, Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Deputy Governor, in Yenagoa on Tuesday.
Gov. Douye Diri inaugurated the committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Konbowei Benson, during a meeting with Local Government Chairmen and representatives of the unions.
Diri, who was represented by his deputy, Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, advised the committee to determine the financial implications involved in implementing the new minimum wage at the local government level.
He said that the committee, which had the Chief of Staff, Chief Benson Agadaga, as Co-Chairman was given three weeks to submit its report.
According to him, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government Administration, Mrs Ebiere Adeh, is to serve as member and Secretary of the committee.
”The state Chapter of National Union of Local Government Employees, Medical and Health Workers Union and the Nigeria Union of Teachers are to nominate two representatives each as members.
”Other members include two representatives each from state Universal Basic Education Board, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Local Government Treasurers and Head of Personnel Management,” Diri said.
He said that the committee was also expected to have two representatives from the Local Government Service Commission and one representative from the Ministry of Local Government Administration.
Diri urged the committee to work out the additional funds required to implement the promotion and new minimum wage as well as new minimum wage without promotion.
“This committee is to take a comprehensive look at what is entailed in implementing the new minimum wage for local government employees which comprises the health workers and primary school teachers and not only the traditional council workers.
“You are to work out the additional money that is required to implement the minimum wage with promotion and without promotion and allocation into each local government,” he said.
The governor called on the local government chairmen to make prudence and due process their watchword, saying they would be held responsible for payroll racketeering and other grave infractions discovered in any council.
On pension, Diri wondered why government’s financial obligations to pensioners kept increasing due to retirement but without corresponding reduction in the wage bill of active workers in the councils.
He described the trend as unacceptable and promised to leave no stone unturned to sanitise the local government system.
“If you go to our local government councils, you find out that people retire and even die but the wage bills remain constant as the Northern Star.
“Pensions are increasing but the salary bill of those who are working still remain constant or even going up. This is unacceptable to me; so, I’m prepared to be called names again,” the governor warned.
The governor added that at the end of the day, posterity and history would judge who served the cause of justice, fairness, progress, prosperity and the cause of integrity.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
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