By G9ija

The Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Buki Ponle, has praised the organised labour for embracing dialogue in agitating for workers’ welfare.

Ponle gave the commendation when he received a team of the Radio, Television and Theatre Workers Union (RATTAWU), Lagos State chapter, led by Comrade Shitta Sulaimon, on Wednesday in Lagos.

“My happiness has been that unionism has changed from combative nature to a more friendly and developmental partnership with the government.

“They are now part of the developmental process. The labour generally has seen that they should be part of a developmental process, working in harmony with the government,” the managing director said.

He reiterated the commitment of the management to prioritise the welfare of NAN workers in order to achieve improved productivity.

“I had spent 35 years of my productive life in NAN before I retired in 2013 and I know where the shoe pinches.

“That is why I have made staff welfare my priority and since I assumed office, we have not relented in taking steps to enhance workers salary.

“Enhancement of staff salary has been a lingering issue and we have committed a lot of resources towards it and by the grace of God, it will come to fruition,” he said.

The managing director also highlighted various developmental steps being taken by the management towards improving staff welfare and a conducive working environment in all the agency’s offices across the country.

These, he said, included renovation of offices, provision of computers and acquisition of drones to enhance photo and multimedia content for the agency’s diverse clients.

On the training of staff, Ponle said efforts were in top gear to establish a training institute in Ilorin, Kwara, but that in the interim, the management was making arrangements with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) to train its workers at the Television College in Jos.

Earlier, Sulaimon, who is the Acting Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the union, had praised the management of the agency for maintaining a win-win relationship with the labour unions in the agency.

He was, particularly, happy to see some office blocks of the agency in Lagos, wearing new looks and making the operation of the agency more vibrant than before.

“In making the agency more vibrant, we as a union (RATTAWU), are ready to collaborate with the management for improved productivity.

“The history of unionism has changed. Before, it’s banging of the table while asking for workers welfare.

“But today, it’s a jaw-jaw, dialogue for a win-win outcome. The management must be happy, likewise the workers,” said Sulaimon.

While applauding the NAN management for prioritising the welfare of workers, Sulaimon appealed to the managing director to put in more efforts to ensure that “improved workers salary” came to fruition before the expiration of his tenure.

The RATTAWU chairman also appealed to the NAN management to enhance the capacity of NAN staff through relevant trainings.