The Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Delta State Council, Comrade Martins Bolum, has said the union and the Nigeria Labour Congress will continue to protect the rights of workers in the state.

Comrade Bolum, who was speaking at the celebration of the 2023 May Day, also known as Workers’ Day in Asaba, said this the Organized Labour would do by presenting and negotiating proposals and initiatives that would help to address grey areas.

He stressed the importance of fostering social dialogue with government and the private sector with a view to achieving optimal performance and results that could balance the interest of all parties and prioritize national interest.

The labour leader said he would continue to strengthen communication among the affiliate unions, discuss challenges with the relevant authorities and encourage the development of positive initiatives designed to benefit all workers, promote the labour culture and showcase the success of the average Nigerian worker.

He promised to continue to highlight best practices for workers in Delta state, in a bid to achieve goals, balance the interests of workers and their employers and ensure stable labour relations.

Comrade Bolum explained that he planned to work out effective ways emerging technologies could be leveraged to overcome challenges of workers and realize aspirations; the challenges facing workers in business environments; and ways to raise awareness about the rights of women in the workplace.

He said the celebration was significant as it commemorated the sacrifices made by past labour leader in the struggle to address rights violation and poor conditions of service, adding that the Day also afforded the Organized Labour the opportunity to strengthen communication and cooperation among the labour unions in the overall interest of the workforce.

The State TUC helmsman added that the celebration was a moment to reflect on and celebrate what the labour movement had done for the country and used the opportunity to call on the State Governor-elect, Sheriff Oborevwori, to sustain the cordial relationship between the government and workers made possible by the labour-friendly disposition of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, continue to unite the state and swiftly initiate the reforms needed to take the state to the next level.

Comrade Bolum said TUC under his watch believed that the incoming Governor would consistently advocate consistency and accountability, put the interest of Deltans first, move towards national unity and implement critical economic reforms required to improve on the existing cordial relationship with workers in the state.

Throughout his life of work and service, Comrade Bolum has empowered thousands to stand together for their rights and led TUC in Delta state toward a more equitable and just society. 

His visionary leadership inspired a powerful movement that burns brightly to this day, rallying people from all walks of life to champion the dignity of labour.

The TUC Chairman’s hard-won strides for social justice are quite commendable and reflect on the work that lies ahead to build a brighter future for all our communities. 

Let us carry on his timeless legacy by lifting up our neighbors, speaking out against injustice, and working together to extend the dream of prosperity, equity and progress to all.

Meanwhile, in a joined address delivered on the occasion, the State Chairman of the NLC, Comrade Goodluck Ofobruku and his TUC counterpart, Comrade Martins Bolum, expressed happiness with the State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa in the delivery of infrastructural and human capital development.

The duo stated that the large turn-out of workers at the event clearly showed that they were happy with the government which they demonstrated by dedicating this year’s celebration to reflections on the performance of the outgoing Governor, Senator Dr ifeanyi Okowa and eagerly looking forward to the inauguration of the incoming Governor, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori come May 29.

The labour union chairmen noted that workers in the state had been very supportive of the government and deserved to be celebrated, pointing out that while they had no serious issues with the outgoing administration, the workers were expecting improved welfare from the incoming administration to spur them to contribute more to the development of the state.

They called on workers in the state to remain committed and dedicated to the implementation of the policies and programmes of the political class in the overall interest of the state, promising that the Organized labour in the state would continue to explore collective bargaining in pushing for enhanced welfare of workers.

Some of the positive achievements of the outgoing Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, were highlighted to include: robust relationship with the Organized Labour which some other states were not privileged to experience; regular and prompt payment of workers’ salaries even when the economy of the state was not at its best; approval of   payment of promotion arrears from 2015 to 2018 in response to the plea by labour leaders; Implementation of the new minimum wage as far back as November 2019, even when some states in the country had yet to commence payment.

Also listed to the credit of the Okowa administration were the construction of an International Standard Secretariat which Organized Labour refered to as a sign of Okowa’s value for workers; the simultaneous establishment of three (3) State-owned Universities which has reduced the agony of the teeming youths of Delta state in seeking admission to tertiary institutions; establishment and construction of new Secondary Schools and Technical Colleges across the three senatorial districts of the state; construction of roads to many villages and streets in many towns, which made Deltans to have a feel of the SMART AGENDA and STRONGER DELTA VISION of the outgoing Governor.

Others include increase in monthly fund disbursement to Bureau of State and Local Government Pensions to enable them pay pensioners; approval of payment of outstanding promotion arrears from 2019 to date; implementation of the recent extension of retirement age and service year from 60 to 65 years and 35 to 40 years for teachers; employment of 65 workers in Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS), employment of about 6000 teachers for Secondary Schools and Technical Colleges; job creation ventures through YAGEP and RYSA, which pulled more than 5000 Deltans out of the unemployment crowd as a result of free training and provision of starter parks to function in employed status in different trades.

The theme of this year’s May Day celebration is ‘Workers Rights and Socio-Economic Justice’.

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