Governor Godwill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has made a case for an upward review of workers’ salaries and entitlements nationwide to keep pace with the economic realities in the country.
Akpabio, who stated this at the occasion marking the 2015 Workers’ Day at the Uyo Township Stadium, said the fall of the naira has definitely affected the purchasing powers of workers.
He said: “Therefore, there is a need to look at an upward review of the salaries and wages of workers across the nation.
“Even though, the minimum wage is pegged at N18,000, it can no longer be sustained.”
Akpabio, who was received at the stadium by a mammoth crowd of workers > from all spectrums of the workforce in the state, commended Akwa Ibom State workers for supporting his administration and translating his vision into reality.
He said: “Today, I can choose to talk about the past eight years of our journey as a people or to speculate on our expectations of the incoming administration.
“I choose not to do either of this, but rather to thank you for being men and women who translated my dreams of Akwa Ibom State.
“I want to say thank you to the Akwa Ibom workers.
“You make the difference.
“You brought about the uncommon transformation.
“All our achievements and accomplishments would not have been possible without the strong sense of solidarity our teeming workforce is known for.
“Together, we have fulfilled the dreams of our forebears.
“Together, we have raised the dignity of every child and given our state a pride of place in the comity of states in our nation.
“Together in solidarity we have crossed raging rivers, scaled heightening mountains.”
The governor reminded the workers that the mandate that was given to him by the people would end in less than one month, noting: “My dear comrades, less than one month from today, we will rest the covenant which gave me the mandate to be your governor since 2007.
“In a month, we will enter into a new covenant with a new man chosen by God and supported by you.
“He is already a worker.
“He has been a church worker and a Deacon and he will step into my shoes as a worker.
“I believe he will strike a good partnership with the workers.”
Akpabio, however, pledged to set a committee to look into the grievances and complaints of workers in the state and asked the Governor-elect, Udom Emmanuel, to send a representative to the committee to assist in resolving the issues for purpose of industrial harmony and understanding in the state.
Emmanuel, who assured the workers he would sustain a cordial relationship with them, said: “After one labour-friendly governor comes another.
“We are standing on the same platform to say that workers welfare and everything shall be sustained and improved.
“I assure workers of training and raising of standard of living so that we can meet international standard.”
Earlier, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Etim Ukpong, and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Akamba Awah, had highlighted the plights of workers in the state and requested Akpabio to revisit the review of workers’ salaries in the state.
Highlight of the 2015 Workers Day was the presentation of goodwill messages by the Speaker of the AKwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sam Ikon; the Secretary to the State Government, Engr. Nkereuwem Ekanem; and Head of the Civil Service, Cecilia Udoessien, among others as well as match past by workers.