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NLC unfolds its position on Bayelsa Civil Service Reforms .Clear the air on payment of 2 months arrears of salaries in April

    Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has unfolded its position on the ongoing Civil Service Reforms in the state sequel to an outcry by some workers. 
Comrade John Bipre Ndiomu, State Chairman,NLC, Bayelsa State Council
   Speaking in an exclusive interview with Global Overseer correspondent in Yenagoa, the State Chairman Comrade John Bipre Ndiomu said, labour has no problem with the reforms as far as the reforms are to make positive change in the civil service.
   Comrade Ndiomu averred that as much as labour is concern no worker should be sacked, adding that the Civil Service Reforms should be in line with the civil service rules.
   On the insinuations going on in the state alleging that the state government had pledged to pay two months arrears of workers’ salaries in April, the NLC boss said it is good that civil servants should be expecting it.
But, he categorically stated that he was not aware that the money would be paid in this month of April, stressing that labour would continue to demand payments of the money. 

There is an outcry by workers over the ongoing civil reform in the state for fear   of been sack from the service. What is NLC position on this reform?
Thank you. First I want to state that we have no problem with the reforms. Labour has no problem with the reforms as far as the reforms are to make positive change in the service. His Excellency the Governor has said that he intend to reposition the civil service. That he will want a more efficient vibrant effective civil service.
Yes, if that is the aim and the goal of government we will give it all the support if it is needed. And you also talk about sacking workers. If as much as labour is concern no worker should be sacked. We are of the view that the reform be in line with the civil service rules. And if it is done that way, I don’t think anybody will suffer it. Of course the government has also stated categorically that no genuine worker will be sacked. And so we are happy with it. And we hope that government will also abide by what they have told us.

So, what is the hope of the affected workers?
Well, the affected workers, workers that have problems; workers that involve in payroll fraud and other problems situations, we will still beg with government. Of course they are Bayelsans. So, if need possible they can have mercy upon them. But you know that a situations like that there is nothing actually labour can do to plead on their behalf. So, while genuine workers shouldn’t suffer, those who have problem situation are the ones that they have problems.

So, what is the outcome of the meeting between Labour and His Excellency in Government House recently over the ongoing reforms?
I know that some of the things I have just mentioned; when the list of deployment came out in different parastatals, workers panic. And I think that was the major problem and so in that meeting; because the earlier directive was that all those listed their salaries should not be paid. But that has been reversed. This month ending every worker will be paid their salaries. I think that was the major fear, the major outcry of the workforce. And it has been change. And of course Government has also said that whatever they are doing will be in line with the civil service rule. And so if it is with line with civil service rules, we have no problem with it.  

What do you think will benefit workers in the state by the expiration of the ongoing reforms?
Well, the civil service will come up vibrant and we also hope that training programmes and other incentives will be part of the system.

And what is your message to workers with regards to the ongoing reforms?
Workers should just prepare for May Day. Let us celebrate ourselves. In the next week we should be celebrating for workers. We should show the world that there is dignity in labour. We should be proud that we are eating from the labour of our hands; the sweet of our hands. That is what we eat from our hands. I think it should be a pride to every worker that we are working. Of course, we are the one that produce the wealth of this nation. And then of course the problem is that we are not part of the distribution. We are not part of the distribution system. And I think that is a major problem.

Mr. Chairman, can you also clear the air on the insinuation going on in the state alleging that the state government had pledged to pay two months arrears of workers’ salaries in April, this month?  What do you know to say  on this?
Yes, it is good that workers should be expecting it. Once you owe civil servants our salary cannot be lost. We will continue to demand that money. We are talking with government. Government is also expecting funds. But I cannot at this point categorically say that that money will be paid this month of April. Of course, we have not actually taking that decision. But we are still pressing for the payment. Workers should not for now, not just make up your mind that by the end of this month you are having two months extra salaries for now. But, I will assure you that every kobo that is owed us will be paid. And we are pressing for that. The struggles continue. Aluta Continua.

 What is your last word?
The great Bayelsa workers should be strong and be forward looking. We should not be discouraged. We are sure that by the end of the day, it is going to be a victory on our part.

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