Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo has expressed worry over the way and manner organized labour have been tackling issues bordering on the welfare of the masses in Nigeria in recent times
He observed that the performance of labour organizations such as the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have not been too impressive in terms of protecting the interest of their members, democracy and the national economy.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo stated this while granting audience to the National President of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Comrade Benjamin Anthony, and the South-South chairpersons of the Union in Government House, Yenagoa.
The Deputy Governor asserted that organized labour had lost the fervency it was known for in the past when the likes of late Michael Imodu, Ali Ciroma, Chief Ovie Kokori, Chief Wariebi Agamene of NUPENG and others held sway.
Insisting that the labour movement had lost much integrity, Senator Ewhrudjakpo noted that labour’s silence in the country when most public universities had been shut for upward of seven months was unacceptable
He maintained that in the face of skyrocketing cost of living in Nigeria occasioned by soaring food and fuel prices, which have made nonsense of the national minimum wage, labour cannot afford to be indifferent while workers are being subjected to economic hardship.
The Bayelsa number two man, who called on the labour leaders to wake up from what he called self-induced slumber, reminded them that under their watch, the Federal Government had borrowed so massively that the national debt profile had hit thresholds never known in the history of the country.
While assuring the AUPCTRE delegation of government’s support for their upcoming conference in the state, Senator Ewhrudjakpo pledged that the Governor Douye Diri Administration would continue to prioritize the welfare of workers in the state.
Earlier, the National President of AUPCTRE, Comrade Benjamin Anthony, acknowledged the labour-friendly disposition of the state government, which explains the reason the union conferred a special award on Governor Diri earlier this year.
According to Comrade Anthony, the teams were in Bayelsa for the State Delegates Conference holding in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The AUPCTRE National President was accompanied on the visit by the Bayelsa Chairperson of AUPCTRE, Comrade Ayibalayefa Gabriel and her counterparts from Edo, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Delta and Cross River states.