Fashola ignores Lagos workers' requests on Workers' Day

The Lagos State governor, Tuesday, ignored a mammoth list of requests by workers in Lagos State as he delivered his keynote speech to commemorate this year’s Workers’ Day celebration.

The Lagos chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and their affiliate organizations gathered in large numbers at Onikan Stadium in Lagos Island to mark this year’s event.

Revisiting the more than 700 per cent increase in school fees at the Lagos State University (LASU); ensuring the payment of the balance of N10,000 per annum, the additional wage approval by the federal government; the full implementation of 27.5 per cent Teachers’ job related Specific Allowances; and the remittance of deductions from salaries and contributory pensions; are some of the demands from the workers.
In addition, the NLC used the workers’ centenary celebration – marking 100 years of trade unionism in Nigeria – to request for the payment of arrears of 142 per cent to pensioners since 2006 and the provision of an official vehicle “befitting” the office of the state NLC chairman.
“It is becoming too derisive for the council to bear as this is the only council of NLC in the 36 states in the country whose chairman still has to jump taxi and in some cases climb an Okada to important workers’ engagements,” said Idowu Adelakun, the chairman of Lagos State NLC.
Mr. Adelakun also asked the state government to provide vehicles for workers’ union in the private sector.
Furthermore, the workers called on the Lagos State government to “reverse the use of threat” in solving the current lingering strike embarked upon by the state’s doctors.
However, in his keynote speech, Mr. Fashola neither acknowledged the long list of requests from the workers nor did he promise to look into any of them. 
The Lagos State governor noted that it was “a very hot day” for a lengthy speech.
After rereading his 2011 Workers’ Day speech which he said “remains relevant today,” Mr. Fashola’s added statement focused solely on the state’s inability to pay higher wages, prompting pockets of barely audible grumbles amongst the workers.
“The first point I will like to make today is that our government in Lagos State will not be stampeded into paying any wages that we are not part of negotiating and for which the funds to pay them are not provided or given to us,” said Mr. Fashola, after opting to repeat the bulk of the speech he delivered last year after the general elections. 
Mr. Fashola said that the state began paying the minimum wage “even before it was signed into law.”
“I recognize that item 34 of the exclusive legislative list gives the federal government the power to make legislation for minimum wage, but that is where that power ends,” said Mr. Fashola.
“Anything that we will pay over and above the minimum wage will be something that we will decide to pay by negotiation and by agreement.
“We will not pay any wage again imposed by the federal government in this state.”

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