By G9ija

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have lauded the worker-friendly disposition of Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa.

The workers’ unions, in a joint address at this year’s Workers Day celebration, particularly commended Diri’s commitment to prompt payment of salaries and gratuity.

Mr Bipre Ndiomu, the state’s NLC chairman, who delivered the address in Yenagoa on Saturday, said that Diri’s emergence as governor in February 2020 had been a huge blessing to Bayelsa.

He also praised the governor for standing by the workers at the peak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“At that time there were job losses all over the world, but the story in Bayelsa was different, thanks to Diri’s pragmatic and people-oriented leadership style.

“The readiness of the governor to rise to the occasion was heartwarming. We can’t thank him enough,” he said.

The labour leader, however, urged Diri to pay the gratuity of local government retirees, implement annual salary increments, and promote workers due for such privilege.

He also demanded for the payment of the national minimum wage, promotion arrears, as well as resumption of training and retraining of civil servants.

Ndiomu pledged the readiness of workers to put in their best toward quality service delivery.

In his response, the governor commended the workers for their support which had ensured the success story they were praising.

Diri also lauded the workers’ patience and understanding and reiterated his commitment to their welfare.

He directed the Commissioner for Finance and the Head of Service to work out modalities for immediate implementation of the annual salary increment, and promised to liaise with the relevant officers toward settling arrears accruing from the minimum wage.

The governor further directed relevant government officers to furnish him with details of salary arrears owed workers of the Environmental Sanitation Authority.

He also called for more information on the vehicles of staff of Radio Bayelsa damaged in the aftermath of the violence that trailed the Supreme Court judgement that declared him winner.

Diri assured workers that the training of workers would be given priority to boost productivity.

His words: “I urge workers in Bayelsa to remain resilient, hopeful and focused as we upscale our determination and resolve to build the state we all want. So much lies ahead that should make us optimistic rather than pessimistic.

“The wealth of the state is inextricably tied to the health of our workers, so government will continue to rank the welfare and happiness of workers at the zenith of its policies and programmes.

“This policy thrust is exemplified in initiatives of my government that include the allocation of 1,000 plots of land to civil servants to enable them to own their houses.

“We have implemented the N30,000 minimum wage, sustained the prompt payment of salaries while not neglecting pensions and gratuities.

“The State Government supplements the wages of local government staff to the tune of nearly N250 million monthly. This is a heavy toll on our already severely over-stretched resources, but we view it as a sacrosanct duty to our cherished workers,” he said.

Diri bemoaned the paucity of funds, but assured the people that their demands would be met as finances improved.