From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

 

There is panic in Bayelsa State Government over plans by workers in the state owned tertiary institutions to embark on an indefinite strike.

It was gathered that the workers are aggrieved over the failure of the state government to implement the minimum wage among other welfare issues.

The Bayelsa State Government through the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo has therefore appealed to the labour unions in the various schools not to embark on their planned strike, saying efforts were underway to address their demands.

Ewhrudjakpo, who pleaded with the unions during a meeting with the representatives of the various unions under the aegis of the Higher Institutions Joint Action Committee (HIJAC) in Government House, Yenagoa pointed out that since the committee set up by the State Government to look into their demands has not completed its assignment, it would not be necessary for the unions to go on strike.

Ewhrudjakpo disclosed that government had already agreed to implement the new Minimum Wage for workers in the state tertiary institutions adding that that the state government would equally introduce a new template for paying yearly subventions to the tertiary institutions.

 

His words, “I want to appeal to you to shelve your planned strike. You need to tell your people there are procedures to take for striking. I want you to explain to your members there is still collective bargaining and we are at the verge of resolving the issues.

 

“We have not declared that our talks had broken down; if they had broken down, you would know as enlightened people. Tell them they should not go on strike because it will not help us. The harm strikes have done to our society far outweighs any benefit one may get from it.

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“We will take the Minimum Wage implementation first before the promotion arrears. The implementation must be across board and the Unions should be fully involved in the implementation process.

 

“From our deliberations here, government has agreed in principle to implement the new Minimum Wage for your members in the state owned tertiary institutions which have not benefited from the implementation.

 

“However, a committee has been set up to get the appropriate salary structure from the polytechnics in our neighbouring states. As it stands now, the polytechnics salary structure is not available.”

 

Earlier in his presentation, the Chairman of HIJAC, Comrade Gbenizibe Amachree, listed the union demands to include implementation of the new Minimum Wage, re-instatement of their wrongfully disengaged members, implementation of promotions and payment of promotion arrears to members.

 

The Union also called on government to separate the subventions from salaries being paid to the staff of tertiary institutions, insisting that such subventions should rather be channelled to infrastructural development of the schools.


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