Workers in Lagos State are to benefit from local and international training to be bankrolled by the state government.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who made the promise on the occasion of this year’s May Day Celebration said it became imperative, in order to boost the economy of the state and Nigeria as a whole.
Governor Ambode added that government would not shirk in its responsibility of promoting workers welfare as he also pledged to provide a befitting secretariat for the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), in the spirit of the state’s ongoing Golden Jubilee celebration.
Governor Ambode also assured them that officers of the State public service, who, according to him, are the real drivers of the development in the state, would continue to be equipped with the necessary competencies and skills in order to deliver effective and efficient service to the people.
He commended the choice of this year’s Workers’ Day celebration themed, “Labour Relations in Economic Recession: An Appraisal,” the Governor stressed that the leadership of Labour unions had demonstrated a responsible sense of stakeholding in the joint enterprise to improve the society.
No job losses
He allayed the fears of massive job losses as a result of plans by his administration to phase out the popular yellow commercial buses, popularly known as ‘Danfo,’ noting that it would rather create more jobs in the transportation sector.
“The Bus Reform Initiative aimed at introducing over 5,000 air-conditioned buses to replace the ‘Danfo’ buses would open new vista of opportunities, while also redefining the means of road transportation in the state,” according to Governor Ambode.
In response to the fears raised by the NLC Chairman, Lagos Council, Comrade Idowu Adelakun and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Comrade Francis Ogunremi on the implications of the initiative to drivers, conductors, mechanics and other artisans, Governor Ambode assured that it would benefit all ‘Lagosians’ in the long run.
“If Lagos is to be globally competitive, we need to change the outlook of the way the city runs; what is of paramount interest to this government is to make sure that every ‘Lagosian’ has a comfortable means of moving from one point to the other, but I promise you there will be no job losses.
It is the same bus drivers, the technicians, the mechanics that will still be employed and trained to use these new buses; instead of job losses, we are going to employ more people for the greater number of the buses and it will make the city more beautiful and more comfortable for all our workers,” he reiterated.
Plight of pensioners
The Governor said that his administration was ready to look into the plight of pensioners regarding the pace of paying pension, assuring that the process would be fast tracked immediately.
He enjoined organised labour to continue to show understanding, while rightly insisting on the due and just entitlements of their members, saying that any industrial unrest will compound the challenges of economic recession.
“I wish to commend the example of Lagos State to the entire nation in respect of industrial harmony, in Lagos State, both the government and organised labour believe that negotiations are more democratic and effective than unilateral impositions by the government or unilateral demands by the workers,” he said.
Alluding to the fact that his administration would not have been able to fulfill the electoral promises without the support of the “most outstanding, versatile, resilient and innovative public service in the nation”, he noted that the immense contributions of all workers in the private sector was also chiefly responsible for the pride of place that Lagos occupies in our nation, in Africa and in the world at large.
Comrades Adelakun and Ogunremi commended Governor Ambode for his commitment to workers’ welfare and the determination with which he had been transforming the State, describing the Governor as an accomplished accounting professional, creative intellectual, skilled planner and focused implementor.
The May Day Rally featured march pasts from various Labour Unions, Trade Organisations and affiliates which trooped out en-masse despite the heavy downpour.