By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel hás said that his administration has put mechanism in place to build an affordable housing for workers in the state.
Governor Emmanuel who stated this in Tuesday in his address marking this year’s international workers’ day celebration in Uyo, the state capital, said the effort is meant to ensure that every worker owns a house before retirement from the service.
Emmanuel told workers that himself being a product of a thorough labour man is committed to ensuring a robust working relationship with the workers in the state, adding that he would never allow them to feel pains.
The state chief executive who said he was happy to celebrate the workers day in the state, however added, “I am excited about all of you because I have emotional attachment to this special breed of our workforce. As many of you already know, I am a product of thorough labour people. I therefore today feel your joy, feel your pain, feel your dreams.
“So when you feel the pain I also feel the pain. So don’t ever expect that I will be glad to see you in pain. I will never be in that mood.”
He however advised the state chapter of Niger Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress to reconsider the Contributory Pension Scheme because his administration plans to use same to do a whole lot for workers to enjoy before they reach retirement age.
He lauded the labour leaders in the state for acknowledging that his government has been able to meet almost 80 per cent of the request made by workers including payment of all pension arrears up to date while assuring that efforts were being made to clear outstanding gratuities very soon.
Earlier in her goodwill message, the state head of service, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan said that workers’ day celebration provided workers opportunity to critically appraise their contributions to the state and national development.
Mrs. Akpan observed that Akwa Ibom state as a people have offered themselves selflessly to extend the frontier of progress and development of both the state and national.
She commended the labour movement in the state for the understanding and cooperation which has cumulated in the industrial harmony in the state.
Also in his address, the state chairperson of Niger Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Etim Ukpong had appealed to governor Udom Emmanuel to ensure the harmonisation of pensions and the resumption of payment of gratuities as well as the expansion of the scope of payment to include teachers.
Ukpong also called on the state government to rescind the decision to privatize essential units of the public healthcare delivery system in the state in order not to take healthcare as a social responsibility away from the common man.
The state NLC chairperson also appealed to government to help recapitalized the Akwa Ibom Savings and Loans Bank so to help create jobs in the state besides being the only financial institution wholly own by the state government.
Ukpong commended the state government for the prompt payment of workers’ salaries and regular pensions as well as meeting other financial obligations to workers in the state.
His TUC counterpart, Mr. Akamba Awah had commended Governor Emmanuel for releasing 2016 promotions and appealed to him to revisit the training and retraining of workers both internal and international in order to broaden their scope and boost productivity.
This year workers’ day celebration with a theme “The labour movement in national development: Dare to struggle, dare to win” took place in the state at Uyo township stadium.
Over 30 labour unions including the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Nigeria Uniam of Teachers, Radio, Television and Theatre Workers as well as Amalgamated Union of Public Service Workers participated in a march past while Governor Emmanuel took salute.