The Edo State government is fond of violating workers’ rights and playing politics with our concerns as workers. This was the case when Adams Oshiomhole was governor. Things have remained the same under Governor Godwin Obaseki.
To give a vivid picture of this, we must take our minds back to the election that gave Governor Godwin Obaseki his second tenure. In a bid to win popular support in the keenly contested election, he politicized what was supposed to be a simple administrative feature of our working life as civil servants.
Every worker in the entire Edo workforce who was qualified for promotion in 2019 was declared promoted. And this was announced with fanfare a view of influencing his victory at the polls. In a state where the government tends to delay awarding promotions, this action helped curry workers favor the governor.
Again, shortly after his victory at the polls last year, the jubilant governor again proclaimed that he had promoted all Edo state workers who were due for promotion by 2020. But these political statements have not translated into concrete action.
The government has not issued any worker a 2020 promotion letter, even as 2021 gradually ends. To make matters worse, a significant number of the workers concerned are yet to benefit from the earlier announced 2019 promotions, not to talk of their arrears. Most of those thus affected are in the teaching service.
The absurdity continued this year. The government has again announced promotions for the workforce for 2021. Meanwhile, the backlog of issues with the advancements of 2019 and 2020 is yet to be addressed. Why does the government continue raising false hopes with such empty announcements of what we are entitled to as right but never given?
Workers in the state have been here before. The government is playing to the gallery, and like its predecessor, will not pay the arrears whenever it is put the promotions announced promotions into effect. We are fed up with this kind of nonsense. Edo state workers need to speak up and fight for their rights.
We urge the trade unions, including NUT, and both the NLC and TUC Edo state councils to stand up and fight for all workers thus far announced as promoted to start benefiting from their legitimate career progression. They must also be paid their arrears in full.
by Inuaghata EMWANTA