The Lagos State Government, yesterday promised to safeguard the constitutional rights of workers, to ensure a proactive workforce for a prosperous economy.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu made the pledge at the 2022 International Workers’ Day celebration, held at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan, Lagos.
The theme of this year’s May Day celebration is ”Labour, Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria”.
Sanwo-Olu said that May 1 of every year offered opportunity to review the progress made in this regard and to rededicate to working collaboratively for the good of all.
According to him, it is also a day to reassess the plight of the working class and look at how to create conditions for an improved working environment and welfare.
”In Lagos State, our workers are our topmost priority and I believe we have always gone to great lengths to demonstrate this.
”We are a state known for prompt payment of workers’ salaries by the 23rd of every month, while equally making every effort to ensure that our retirees receive prompt attention.
”I am pleased to note that I recently approved the implementation of the new minimum wage consequential adjustment for retirees on the old pension scheme,” he said.
The governor said that the government was also determined to conclude the settlement of all accrued pension rights before the end of his administration.
He said that for the agencies and parastatals that from time to time had issues remitting the pension contributions of their workers to Pension Fund Administrators, the government would not hesitate to step in and bail them out.
Sanwo-Olu said that the government was working towards a lasting solution to the challenges being faced by the agencies and parastatals.
The governor said that his administration was duty-bound to do everything to ensure that whether in service or in retirement, the entitlements of workers, remained sacrosanct.
He, however, charged workers to carry out their responsibilities effectively as government ensured their rights were protected.
”Fellow workers, as a government, there is no-gainsaying the fact that we fully acknowledge the constitutional provision that workers are entitled to certain rights, including the right to reasonable working conditions and fair remuneration.
”Today, I wish to affirm that this administration will safeguard these rights, in order for us to have a strong, motivated and proactive workforce, which is the bedrock upon which we shall continue to build our prosperity.
”However, we must always remember that these rights carry with them certain responsibilities, which require workers and employers to consult and negotiate, in order to avoid debilitating and costly industrial actions.
”Ensuring harmonious industrial relations will continue to be important to us in Lagos State. It is a legacy that we inherited and which we will always strive to maintain,” the governor said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the government wanted to continue to be a state known for mutual respect between the government and organised labour.
According to him, without industrial peace and harmony, little or no sustained development is possible.
He said that the theme of the Workers’ Day celebration brought to mind the onerous task ahead of the government, to build a prosperous society that would feed its people.
The governor said that the theme reminded the government the need for the provision of decent and affordable health care and education and provision of a standard of living for every resident that one could be proud of.
”We are a society on relentless quest for good governance and development.
“The only way to achieve this is for all elements of our society, including organised labour, to join hands in developing a political system that is able to truly and sustainably deliver the dividends of democracy to all and sundry.
He said: ”as we begin preparations for the next general elections in our state and the country at large, we must keep in mind the robust growth and progress of the last two decades and rededicate ourselves to building the future of our dreams.
”May God continue to bless our workers and their families. I wish you all happy celebrations on this 2022 Workers’ Day,” he said.
In her goodwill message, the Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs Ajibola Ponnle, said that good governance and development had been the driving force of all the policies and programmes of the present administration in the state.
Ponnle said that the government had created equable conditions for job security and improved welfare for workers as evident in no loss of job by any public servant in the past three years of the administration, in spite of the economic downturn.
She said that the ongoing effort to give effect to all the demands of the labour unions easily showed the State Government’s commitment to the upliftment of the workforce.