Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, on Friday blamed the delay in the implementation of the new minimum wage for senior civil servants in the state on COVID-19.
In his May Day address to workers in the state, the governor said the Public Service Joint Negotiation Council was about concluding negotiations on the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage when the effects of the pandemic became manifest in the global, national and state economy.
Fayemi said the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country had affected the resumption of negotiations, adding that government was optimistic that the battle would soon be over and the world economy would come out of the present recession.
He added that this would enable the state to conclude the process of minimum wage implementation and its consequential adjustment.
The governor also expressed regrets that the same COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for the lack of fanfare during this year’s Workers’ Day celebration.
He said: “It is a global scourge and we are all in it together.
“As a responsible government, we acted decisively including taking the tough decisions of imposing movement restrictions and directing the majority of our workers to stay away from the office with a view to preventing the spread of the virus in our dear state.
“The labour movement in Ekiti State has also been both resilient and responsible in its approach to labour matters.
“There will always be challenges in life and what defines invincibility is the way such problems are tackled and overcome.
“This period may be tough, but we are resilient, strong and courageous, these traits have propelled us to overcome adversities in the past and to thrive as a state.”
The governor said despite the unfriendly economic situation, the welfare and improved working conditions of workers had continued to be the top priority of his administration in many other ways.
“Salaries, pensions and gratuities are being paid as and when due. I am sure you have received your April 2020 salary and all allowances due to our health workers who are at the frontline of the COVID-19 response have been paid.
“We have continued to pay the N30,000 minimum wage for junior cadre in the public service and have reinstated merit-based appointments to elevate the standards of the public service.
“Official vehicles have been allocated to serving and some retired permanent secretaries, while we have increased our investment in training and capacity building for the public service,” Fayemi added.
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