Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, has appealed to leaders of various Unions in the State to show empathy and be realistic in their demands from the government in view of the present state of affairs and the pressure on the State’s resources.
The Head of Service (HoS) made the appeal, on Monday, during the 2020 Bi-Annual Lagos State Public Service Joint Negotiating Council Meeting, held at Alausa, adding that the government had prioritised the welfare of its workforce in spite of the lean resources available to the State Government as a result of the effect of the COVID-19 and aftermath of #EndSARS protest.
According to him, the State Government, despite the financial constraints, had ensured that all its staff who were due for Promotion, Conversion and Confirmation in 2020 were not denied these privileges, which is in addition to the regular payment of salaries despite majority of the workforce working remotely.
“In as much as some activities of the government planned for year 2020 couldn’t hold due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, some statutory activities in the Civil Service like the Long Service Merit Awards, Annual Promotion Exercise and other statutory entitlements for the staff were implemented”, the HoS explained.
Muri-Okunola, represented at the meeting by the Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office (PSO), Mr. Samson Ajibade maintained that though the Labour leaders have been very reasonable and dogged at the same time, urging them not to allow their doggedness overshadow their sense of reality and empathy with the plight of the State Government.
In his words, “I want our labour leaders to take cognisance of the reality of what the State Government is passing through now and show some level of understanding and empathy as they have always done”.
“You have always been showing a high level of understanding with the Government, please let this continue. For us as government, we will not hesitate to shift ground when there are convincing and compelling reasons to do so”, the HoS submitted.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Establishments and Training and Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, (Government side), Mr. Biodun Bamgboye, advised the Union Leaders to continue giving the necessary support and suggestions to the government, especially on policy thrust and the welfare of Staff.
He stated that during the heat of the pandemic, the State Government still observed the International Labour Day on 1st of May, 2020, amidst strict observance of COVID-19 protocols, as a demonstration of government’s commitment to giving special recognition to the workforce, particularly the Medical and Health Workers, and ensuring smooth industrial relations in the State Public Service.
Also, the Co-Chairman of the State JNC, (Labour side), Comrade Olusegun Balogun, commended the State Government handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, saying that Governor Sanwo-Olu and his team have once again shown that the present administration is highly responsive and responsible to the citizenry.
He confirmed that Labour understands the situation of things and the enormous responsibility of the State Government which has been compounded by the global Coronavirus pandemic.