The Delta State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has described the recent Press Release by the All Progressives Congress, APC in the State titled: “Stop Your Divide And Rule Game Amongst Delta Workers – Delta APC To Gov. Okowa” and signed by Sylvester Imonina, Esq., Publicity Secretary, APC, Delta, as another attempt by the State opposition party to play to the gallery to score cheap political points and as all sounds and fury signifying nothing.
A statement by Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, Delta PDP Publicity Secretary, reads thus: “Once again, we are compelled to respond to the latest spurious and misleading press release by the Delta APC, where it insinuates wildly and recklessly that the Delta State Government is involved in a divide and rule tactics with the Delta State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), over the review of the minimum wage. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
“To set the records straight, the Delta State government, in a meeting with Organized Labour, appealed that it cannot continue to sustain the State wage bill against the harsh economic reality occasioned by the Corona Virus global pandemic, which has led to the massive reduction in the Federal allocation and internally generated revenue accruing to the State and which is likely to continue until when normalcy returns to the world again.
“Three options were tabled for consideration viz:
Option 1: that cooperative and other deductions will not be remitted for the next six months to meet up with salaries.
Option 2: that grade levels 1- 6 are to receive the new minimum wage while from grade levels 7-17 are to revert to the old wage and the difference to be paid when the economy improves. In other words, they are to sacrifice their percentage increase for the period.
Option 3: the third option was to retrench some staff in other to pay salaries.
“The government and Organized Labour unanimously agreed to adopt Option 2, which is to revert to the old wage for grade levels 7-17. They also agreed that the political office holders will forfeit 25% of their basic salaries as a sacrifice.
“It is important to inform the APC that health workers who have been on the Frontline in the battle against COVID-19, have been given special attention all over the world and to suggest that government stage-managed a protest to exempt health workers in the review is very wicked, heartless and malicious.
“Let us also remind the APC, in case it has forgotten, that Delta State was amongst the first States in the Country to pay the new minimum wage, which commenced in January, 2020 and even paid two months arrears of the minimum wage from the 1st of November 2019. This payment has been prompt and consistent till date, and common sense should even tell the APC that the outbreak of the Corona Virus in March, has affected the whole World and responsible governments are now engaged in the process of adjusting their operations to ensure that wages will continue to be paid, even when work is skeletal in some places or has stopped completely in other areas.
“Even Delta workers understand this new reality and we urge the APC to always get its facts right before jumping out to issue unnecessary press statements, especially at a time of uncertainty like this, when the whole world is forced to embrace a new normal which has dislocated our lives and redefined our existence drastically.
“We do not wish to join issues with APC’s diversionary argument on the minimum wage matter for the simple reason that the Corona Virus pandemic has presented a very fluid situation where no one knows what will happen next until the world finds a cure or vaccine for it once and for all.
“The fact remains, however, that COVID-19 is real and we must all make sacrifices and take personal responsibility in the fight against the dreaded pandemic, by obeying all the public health guidelines and government directives, to curtail the spread and contain the pandemic.
“Together we will overcome COVID-19 in Delta State, the statement concluded.