We Are Not Involved In Any Street Protest – NLC

 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has distanced itself from reports of planned street protest in the country.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in a statement he personally signed on Friday asked members of the union to disregard the reports.

He explained that before the union would take such a decision, appropriate organs of the Congress would have thoroughly debated the pressing issue.

READ ALSO: Atiku, SERAP, Others Condemn Sowore’s Arrest

Wabba stressed that NLC has no reason to proceed on mass action while only the organs of the union have the power to take such a decision.

He, however, said the union would not stop anyone or group from staging a peaceful protest against any policy with which they disagree.

Read the full statement below:

We would wish to inform our members/affiliate unions, civil society allies and the general public that the Nigeria Labour Congress is neither organising nor getting associated with any mass action or street protest over any issue in any part or every part of the country in the days ahead.

Before we embark on any mass action or street protest, the issue(s) in contestation must first be thoroughly debated by the appropriate organs of the Congress.

Similarly, the decision to do a mass action or any form of protest is usually taken by those organs.

Accordingly, we wish to state unambiguously that neither has such an issue arisen nor a debate for a mass action taken place, let alone a decision to proceed on mass action.

We are therefore not involved in any street protest.

Nonetheless, Congress respects the right of the citizenry to freely associate and hold an opinion and to peacefully protest against any policy or policies with which they disagree.

Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni.

President.

We Must Tax The Rich To Subsidise For The Poor – NLC President

File Photo: NLC President, Ayuba Wahab

 

One of the critical issues to address for Nigeria to progress is the tax system, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has said.

Mr Wabba said this on Tuesday while speaking about the countrys economic outlook during a town hall organised by Channels Television ahead of the inauguration.

For him, the current system essentially robs the poor in favour of the rich.

He said, Today in Nigeria, the facts are obvious, what is our tax to GDP? It is only workers that pay the correct tax. In fact, I was reading recently (about) politicians that have filled various forms to contest for political offices. If you look at what they declared as tax, it is not something to write home about.

So, if we are to make progress, it is not to continue to tax the poor. It is to tax the rich to subsidise for the poor. This is what happens everywhere around the world.

The NLC President also decried the implication of unchecked imports on the economy.

I dont think we need to import items that we dont need. I think that has been the bane of our economy. Most of our forex and exchange go on importing items that we dont need, he cautioned.

The NLC President considers the countrys refining capacity as another issue which is central to its growth.

You can see very clearly that despite the fact that we have tried to address many other issues, the challenges in the oil and gas sector have remained because we have not been able to utilize our potential effectively, Wabba said.

The consequence is that jobs that could have been created have not emerged and revenue that could have been used to develop infrastructure has not been generated or has been misused.

Despite his complaints, he said the country has recorded some positives in the past four years that should be built upon and replicated across sectors.

Well, today, we have become one of the highest producers of rice in the world. We have overtaken Egypt and that is positive, he said.

I think we should go into other sectors textile, manufacturing; we should actually add value where we have comparative advantage.

He believes that doing that, especially in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, can earn the country foreign exchange and help strengthen the naira and by extension the economy.

Ngige, Labour Trade Blames Over NSITF Board Inauguration

The faceoff between the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Federal Government continued on Tuesday with a blame game over the inauguration of a new board for the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

While the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, spoke on behalf of the Federal Government, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba represented the labour union.

Both appeared as guests on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, a day after Ngige swore in a new board for the Fund following a two-year delay.

Prior to the inauguration, NLC members last week protested against the Minister for his alleged failure to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund with Frank Kokori as the chairman.

Wabba criticised the Minister for the delay in the constitution of the board, blaming the action on an alleged lack of communication between the Federal Government and the labour.

READ ALSO: Ngige Inaugurates New NSITF Board After Two-Year Delay

He, however, insisted that Kokori was not recommended by the labour, insisting that his appointment was based on a recommendation from the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) being a member.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba                                               Labour Minister, Chris Ngige

“We are social partners in this particular issue. It’s a labour market institution. We shouldn’t wait until the 11th hour. Labour should have been informed. Even him Kokori should have been informed.

“Even up to now, there is no formal communication to him. After the Minister invited him to his house and had dinner to say you have been appointed, there is no formal communication to labour.

“The issue of Kokori’s appointment was not the issue mainly, it was inaugurating the board. So clearly speaking, there is a breakdown in communication. That communication which was made public to Nigerians only came at the eve of the inauguration two days ago,” he stated.

But reacting to the allegation, the Minister accused the NLC President of being economical with the truth.

According to Ngige, Wabba came to his office claiming that the Vice President had instructed the NLC to bring a nomination.

“I did not recommend Mr Kokori for an appointment. The NLC President is being economical with the truth. I told them that this name you people have inserted is an invalid nomination.

“It was on that basis that I asked Mr Kokori to give me his Curriculum Vita (CV). As a matter of fact, this NLC President came to my office and lied to me that the Vice President asked them to bring a nomination.

“And I told him, it cannot stand. You know what the Act says. Based on that, I wrote to the Vice President pointing out that I should nominate. As at two weeks ago, the Vice President said he didn’t see them,” he said.

New Minimum Wage Is Binding On All Employers Of Labour, Says NLC

 

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, says the new minimum wage recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, is binding on all employers of labour in the country. 

While appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, he stated that only employers whose workers are less than 25 can be exempted from the monthly N30,000 salary payment.

“Going forward, it is actually the implementation by employers of labour. All employers of labour, except those that are exempted, particularly those that are employing less than 25.

READ ALSO: Kaduna Govt Imposes 24-hr Curfew On Kajuru

“So clearly in the implementation, what is expected now is for the Salaries and Wages Commission to issue a guideline and circular how various employers of labour can then key into the implementation,” he stated.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba

The NLC boss, however, decried the varying salary structure of the public and civil service, calling for a guide to uniform the system.

While citing the law, Wabba called for an increase in the payment of pensions and gratuity to retired Nigerian workers.

“It (minimum wage) goes side by side with pensions. The Constitution says anytime there is an increase in the minimum wage, automatically pensioners should also benefit.

“We have as at today some pensioners receiving as low as N5,000 monthly pension. Certainly, we know that nobody can live these days on N5,000.”

Speaking on defaulting employers who fail to meet up pay the minimum wage, the labour leader said penalty would be slammed on them in accordance with the law.

He also explained that the figures can be reviewed for increment on a 5-year basis owing to inflation of the nation’s economy among other issues.

NLC President Insists On N30,000 Minimum Wage As Reps Begin Public Hearing

 

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has insisted on a Minimum Wage of N30,000 for all workers.

At a House of Representatives Public hearing on Monday, Ayuba also called for the removal of the clause exempting organisations with less than 25 workers from paying the proposed minimum wage of N30,000.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari had last week sent a Minimum Wage Bill of N27,000 to both chambers of the National Assembly, following the approval of the National Council of State.


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The Federal Government had, however, said it would increase it to N30,000 for its workers and that states were at liberty to augment the new agreement as they deemed fit.

It also exempted private and public organisations with less than 25 employees to pay the minimum of N18,000.

Buhari Reacts As Ayuba Wabba Emerges ITUC President

Buhari Reacts As Ayuba Wabba Emerges ITUC President
(File) NLC President, Ayuba Wabba

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Mr Ayuba Wabba on his election as the President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

He extended his goodwill message to the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Friday in a statement by his special adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

The President joined members of the NLC and all Nigerian workers in celebrating Wabba’s victory at ITUC poll, the largest trade union federation in the world.

READ ALSO: NOUN Graduates To Participate In NYSC, Attend Law School

He described the success as further signals of the “great work” the union had been doing in ensuring the welfare of workers.

“As the first African to head the ITUC, President Buhari believes the labour leader will bring his wealth of experience in persuasion and negotiation to the new position, assuring him of the Federal Government’s support,” the statement said.

President Buhari wished the NLC President a successful tenure.

In a similar development, the President congratulated a former Minister of Mines and Power, Bashir Dalhatu, on his appointment as the Wazirin Dutse in Jigawa State.

He described Dalhatu as “a brilliant and hard-working lawyer who is deserving of this title.”

According to President Buhari, the former Nigeria Bar Association National President “didn’t attain this height by accident, he did so on account of his hard work and passion for the development of Jigawa State and its people.”

He said that Dalhatu “has consistently identified himself with the development agenda of the people of Jigawa State at all levels,” adding that his new traditional title “is a recognition of his commitment to the welfare of his people.”

The President urged other members of the Nigerian elite to emulate the Wazirin Dutse by “always identifying with the welfare and development of their people, instead of escaping to the cities and living epicurean lifestyles that detach them from the realities of the ordinary people.”

NLC Warns Governors Against Refusal To Pay N30,000 Minimum Wage

NLC Warns Governors Against Refusal To Pay N30,000 Minimum Wage
NLC leadership holds a press briefing in Abuja (file)

 

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned state governors against their refusal to pay the proposed national minimum wage of N30,000.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning on Friday after attending a labour related function in Ado, the Ekiti State capital.

He insisted that there was no going back on the N30,000 as against the existing N18,000 new minimum wage for workers in the country.

Wabba told reporters in the state that state governors have no justification to decline to pay the wage, stressing that they were part of the decision-making process.

“Six of the governors representing each geopolitical zone were part of this decision-making process; the N30,000 was not a labour demand, it was even a compromise position,” the NLC president stressed.

According to him, any governor, under any political party, who declines to pay the proposed wage stands the risk of revolt through the ballot.

On how the proposed minimum wage can be achieved by the governors, Wabba said, “If we reduce the cost of governance, including the humongous security vote, the wage can be paid.”

He added, “Workers should be resolute; we have told workers, pensioners, and their dependents not to vote or support any governor who refuses to pay the minimum wage.”

2019: Wike Challenges Labour On Credible Polls, National Issues

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has called on the organised labour to lend its voice to demand credible elections in 2019 when Nigerians choose their leaders for another four years.

He also asked the labour unions to join other prominent leaders to seek the re-organisation of the nation’s security infrastructure for the safety of the people.

Governor Wike made the plea on Friday when he received the President of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

“This country belongs to all of us. Labour can no longer keep quiet on critical national issues. Labour should lend her voice on the issue of the overhaul of the security architecture,” he said.

“Labour should come out strongly to ensure that the 2019 general elections are transparent and credible. Credible polls will lead to greater service to the people by elected officials.”

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and NLC National President, Ayuba Wabba, during his courtesy visit to the Government House, Port Harcourt, on June 29, 2018.

 

The governor noted that security agencies should not be seen to be aiding the stealing of ballot boxes during elections, saying such actions negatively affect the country’s image internationally.

He also questioned wondered why some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would say performance should not be the yardstick for re-election.

Wike further challenged the Nigerian workers to show seriousness during the process and ensure that their votes count.

“If projects cannot make people return to office, what should make people return to office?” he queried. “I know that 2019 will not be as easy as they think because people are warming up to resist any form of political manipulation and rigging.”

He, however, assured the civil servants in Rivers that his administration would continue to put necessary measures in place to improve their welfare.

Earlier, Mr Wabba commended the governor for investing in the development of the state, as well as the commitment and support of the government for the organised labour.

He also thanked Governor Wike for the regular payment of salaries and pensions and appealed to him to use the state chapter of the NLC to always interface with the workers.

“I thank the governor for the continuous payment of salaries when others give excuses. Workers’ salaries have multiplier effects on the system,” the NLC President said.

NLC Decries Lack Of Uniformity In Nigeria’s Tax System

NLC Decries Lack Of Uniformity In Nigeria’s Tax System
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba has criticised what he calls the lack of uniformity in the nation’s taxation system.

Mr Wabba spoke on the issue on Monday when he visited some labour organisations in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He asked the Federal Government to urgently review the tax system in the interest of Nigerian workers who bear the brunt of such actions.

The NLC president further asked the government to immediately constitute a committee on national minimum wage review to alleviate workers’ suffering in the country.

READ ALSO: NLC Demands Tax Justice, Accuses FG Of Bias

He noted that the nation’s economy cannot recover with poorly paid workers, stressing the need to constitute the committee following its approval by the Federal Executive Council.

He pointed out that the increase in wage was a matter of law and not based on government revenue generation, saying: “It is long overdue, our patience is running out”.

Earlier, Wabba called for a fair tax regime from the Federal Government on the income of workers across the country.

He had accused the government of inappropriate taxing of wealthy Nigerians and corporate organisations, alleging that government taxes public and civil servants while overlooking high net worth individuals and corporate organisations.

Mr Wabba appealed to government at all levels to provide social protection for Nigerian workers through a just tax regime in order to improve their standard of living.

Wike Charges NLC To Be Focused

The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has expressed concern over the seeming infiltration of the Labour Union by politicians.

Gov. Wike made this known when the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress Ayuba Wabba led some executives of the union to the state Government House.

The NLC President, who was in the state to interface with workers commended the governor for the prompt payment of salaries and pensions.

But also appealed to the governor to intervene in the challenges arising from recently retired workers, contributory pensions and the irregular meetings of the public service joint negotiating council.

NLC Demands Tax Justice, Accuses FG Of Bias

NLC, Tax, Nigeria
File photo

The Nigeria Labour Congress has called for a fair tax regime from the Federal Government on the income of workers across the country.

The union also accused the government of inappropriate taxing of wealthy Nigerians and corporate organisations.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba made the call on Friday at a gathering of labour union leaders in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He said the government never fails to tax public and civil servants while overlooking high net worth individuals and corporate organisations.

Mr Wabba appealed to government at all levels to provide social protection for Nigerian workers through a just tax regime in order to improve their standard of living.

May Day: Workers Demand For Minimum Wage Increase Legitimate, Says NLC

NLC, Tax, Nigeria
NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba,

 The Nigeria Labour Congress has defended the demand by workers for the increase of the minimum wage, saying it is modest and backed by law.

NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, said this in an exclusive interview with Channels Television to mark the May Day celebrations.

He said, “By law and practice, and through a collective bargaining process, government, employers of labour and organised labour as represented by TUC and NLC, have agreed that in every five years, we need to review the minimum wage because of a lot of factors – the cost of living, inflation and other factors that need to be considered.

“Therefore, it is due both by law and in practice. And it is a legitimate demand.”
Wabba explained that it was because the demand was legitimate that all parties have not rejected it or called it frivolous.

“And that was why the tripartite team was constituted and now the negotiating team will be constituted,” he added.

The NLC president explained further that the demand was meant to take into consideration the impact of inflation on the current minimum wage.

He said, “In fact, we are being very modest; we are trying to bring back the value of N18,000. At the time we signed the N18,000 minimum wage, which was (through) a tripartite process, the value was about $110.

“Today, what is the value of N18,000? It’s less than $40. This is the reality – inflation has actually taken (away) the impact and import of the increase.

“What we are merely doing, which I think is very modest and needs to be commended, is the fact that we are trying to bring back the value of N18,000. This is realistic.”

Wabba also faulted concerns about the ability of government to pay the minimum wage, stressing that the political elites did not complain about the ability to pay when they increased their salaries.

“Don’t forget, when we demanded N18,000, our political elites increased their salaries and earnings, across board – from councilor to the highest office in the land – by over 800 per cent. Nobody is talking about their ability to pay, they are being paid now,” he said.

He added that claims that organised labour was demanding that salaries across board should be equal was not accurate.

“We are saying that the minimum below which no employer of labour – both government and private – should pay should be the minimum wage. So, let us not confuse the issue of the minimum wage with the entire package,” the NLC president said.