As part of his advocacy for review of workers’ minimum wage, former secretary to Delta state government, Ovouzorie Macaulay, has stressed the need for governments to give priority to payment of workers’ salaries.
Macaulay stated that the payment of workers’ salaries is non-negotiable and should be top the priority list by all state governments, basing his argument on the fact that workers are the engine room, the drivers of policies of government.
The former Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Delta State chapter, who spoke on Bridge FM ‘Straight Talk’ programme, said that Labour should be able to speak out when civil servants are relegated to the background in government’s scale of preference.
Responding to the quick payment of political appointees against civil servants, Macaulay called for equal treatment as regards payment for both civil servants and political appointees.
According to him: “Salary is non-negotiable. While I advocate that salaries should be on a first line charge I must also say that government staff should be given equal treatment as regards salary payment. Political appointees and civil servants are both workers and should get equal treatment. Any democratically elected governor should have that at the back of his mind.”
In the same vein, he reiterated the need for workers and unionist to get actively involved in politics.
Macaulay emphasized that nobody can understand the plight of workers better than an insider. He said: “A government without a labour background might not really understand the position of labour. Hence I call on workers to get involved.”
He disclosed that findings from a member of a five man committee,of which he was a member to South Africa, for study of the labour -party relations, informed the formation of Labour Party (LP). “Of course, the Labour Party was able to get its prints on Nigeria political sand.
“My achievements in the labour were for the workers. They are still there. I never agitated for anything personal. It is a very unfortunate situation in today’s labour. We have never had it so bad. There is a high level of decadence,” Macaulay said.