Oyo State governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Monday, inaugurated an 11-member adhoc inter-ministerial committee on the harmonisation of various demands by labour unions in the state.
The governor, while performing the inauguration at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, called on the members of the committee to be open-minded and to come up with homegrown solutions on issues bordering on workers’ welfare in the state.
Governor Makinde equally tasked the committee, which is headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Olanike Adeyemo, to come up with a report on the modalities for the implementation of workers’ demands.
The committee was given a six-week time frame to complete its assignment.
Speaking at the event, Governor Makinde stated that his administration had been proactive in attending to the demands of labour unions and workers, a development which, he noted, had promoted a cordial relationship and helped the government to deliver several developmental projects in the state.
The governor commended the labour leaders for their cooperation and sense of understanding dating back to 2019/2020, when the state successfully negotiated the new minimum wage and consequential adjustment and other modalities for workers’ welfare.
According to the governor, the responsibility of attending to the welfare of the people should rest with states, as the implementation of labour agreements has always been more proactive in Oyo State compared to the federal level.
He said: “Let me thank the labour leaders for coming to the table and I am optimistic that we can have our own home-grown solution.
“We have done this before in 2019 when we had a negotiation on minimum wage and consequential adjustment. We came together and Oyo State became one of the first states to actually reach a landing. That is the position till this recent crisis we are facing.
“In terms of the welfare of the workers in Oyo State, we have been very proactive as a state. The backlog of promotions and all sorts of arrears that we met were tackled headlong. With time, we have had cooperation from the labour union leaders and that has allowed the government to function properly and to go after the developmental activities that we are trying to carry out on behalf of the people of Oyo State.”
The governor charged members of the committee to demonstrate understanding and have an open mind so that the state could get a solution that is fair to all parties, noting that as a state there are so many responsibilities but limited resources.
According to the governor, the government spent between N12 Billion and N16 Billion to fix the infrastructure gaps in public schools through building, rehabilitation of dilapidated structures and others, but the challenge actually requires at least N50 Billion, and that is apart from other essential sectors.
“So, please, I want to solicit for your understanding, carrying the members along. And, on behalf of the government, we must be completely open because when we find a solution that both sides are comfortable with and fair to everybody, then it is something that can be sustained. This is our state.
“On that note, I pronounce the adhoc inter-ministerial committee inaugurated and we hope we can have your report within the shortest possible time – before six weeks. If you can do it earlier, we will appreciate it.”
On his part, the chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Oyo State chapter, Comrade Kayode Martins, assured that the committee would deliver mostly on the issue of wages to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy on the state’s workers in due time.
Members of the committee include; Head of Service, Mrs Olubunmi Oni, Attorney-General/Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Abiodun Aikomo, Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinola Ojo, Commissioner for Establishment and Training, Mr Adeniyi Adebisi, Special Adviser on Labour Matters, Comrade Bayo Titilola-Sodo and Executive Assistant on Security, CP Sunday Odukoya (rtd).
Others are NLC chairman, Comrade Kayode Martins; chairmen, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiation Committee, Comrades Bosun Olabiyi and Olanipekun Oluwaseun, while the Director, Establishment Matters, Ministry of Establishment and Training, Mr Olusola Ojelabi, will serve as the Secretary.