Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson told civil servants on Wednesday the National Incomes and Wages Commission (NIWC) was delaying the payment of the newly-approved N30, 000 minimum wage.
Though the workers, who gathered at the Peace Park, Onopa, Yenagoa, to celebrate the May Day raised their voices in disagreements, Dickson explained the NIWC must work out modalities for the implementation of the minimum wage.
The governor noted that details of the modalities must be sent to all the states including Bayelsa before implementation of the new minimum wage Act.
Dickson, however, assured workers that his administration had been at the vanguard of agitation for the new wage saying he was ready to pay the minimum wage.
He said: “The government of Bayelsa state has announced over and over that we are not against N30, 000 minimum wage in principle. We announced that severally at different times and fora and let me also say so today.
“What we are doing now is that we are waiting for the wages commission to work out the modalities.
‘’There is something called the National Income and Wages Commission. Having agreed to pay, we will still have to wait for them to work out the details and send to every states.
‘’I will like you to understand this. I know that a number of you like people who deceive you and you know that I don’t deceive my people. I have told you we are in support of N30, 000 minimum wage.
“We will pay N30, 000 minimum wage but you have to wait for the national income and wages commission. There is no way we can come and pay when we have not seen the modalities worked out as they affect every cadre.
“So, that is what we will do on that matter. We have agreed in principle to pay. But right now if I call you to a debate on how it will affect level 10, level two and level 17, you won’t know.
‘’That is why all states are waiting for the national wages commission to work out those details and transmit to them. As soon as that is done, Bayelsa will be the first to pay”.
Dickson, who told the workers that he was delivering his last May Day address as the governor, asked them to forego all sentiments and make decision for the progress of the state in the next governorship election.
Dickson said his administration had scheduled many training and retraining of workers adding that more teachers would be employed in the educational sector of the state.
The governor, who said his government had employed more people than the previous administration, harped on the need to flush out overage teachers to create spaces for younger persons.
In a joint address presented by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC), the workers appealed to the governor to offset all salary and pension arrears in the state.
State Chairman of NLC, John Ndiomu, urged the governor to implement the N30,000 minimum wage, pay gratuities and death benefits; implement promotion and incremental steps and fund training of civil servants.
He also commended Dickson for withholding his assent on the bill seeking to give life pensions to members of the House of Assembly.