FG, Labour Leaders Meet Two Days To Minimum Wage Implementation Deadline

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, presides over the meeting between government representatives and labour leaders in Abuja on October 14, 2019.

 

 

Representatives of the Federal Government on Monday met with the leadership of organised labour movement on the implementation of the new N30,000 minimum wage and the consequential adjustment of salaries for civil servants.

The meeting, which began shortly after the arrival of members of the union at the Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja, came two days to the deadline issued by the labour leaders.

In his remarks, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who presided over the meeting, described it as an information-sharing one which flows from the previous meeting between the government and the labour leaders.

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The minister assured the union leaders that he would remain neutral in the whole negotiation.

He, however, appealed to members of the union to show some understanding.

Ngige announced that there would be another meeting with heads of government agencies and parastatals, where their books would be opened for scrutiny to see what amount can actually be paid to workers.

The meeting, according to him, will hold on Tuesday.

Journalists were initially barred from covering the meeting which held behind closed doors but they were later granted access by the minister.

 

Implement Before Deadline

Almost six months since President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Minimum Wage Repeal and Re-Enactment Act, 2019, Nigerian workers have yet to feel its impact.

This is as a result of the delay in the implementation of the law which pegs the minimum wage for workers in the country at N30,000.

While some states such as Kaduna and Ekiti have announced plans to commence payment of the new minimum wage, the Federal Government has held a series of meetings with members of the organised labour on the same issue.

On July 16, the Presidency said President Buhari has approved the immediate implementation of the new minimum wage for workers earning below N30,000.

It, however, said the commencement of the approved payment would be determined by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

Following a meeting between leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the government, the organised labour issued a two-week ultimatum for the government to meet its demands.

The union said it has demonstrated a great deal of restraint, consideration and patience with the government but it offers were not encouraging.

It, therefore, warned that it cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the country if its demands were not met at the close of work on October 16.

The Minimum Wage Repeal and Re-Enactment Act signed by the President in mid-April makes it compulsory for all employers of labour in Nigeria to pay N30,000 to their workers.

This excludes persons who are employing less than 25 workers and those who work in a ship which sails out of the jurisdiction and other persons who are in other kinds of regulated employment which are accepted by the Act.

It also gives workers the right if compelled by any circumstance to accept salary that is less than N30,000 to sue their employer to recover the balance.

May Day: Workers To Renew Call For Minimum Wage Increase

As workers across the country gear up for the May Day celebration, labour leaders say the workers will once again use the opportunity to demand an increase in minimum wage and payment of salary arrears, among others.

According to the secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Peter Ozo-Eson and the leader of the United Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, an N18,000 minimum wage means many Nigerians are not able to put food the table.

“If we are receiving N18,000 as minimum wage in an economy where the dollar is exchanging at par with the naira, I bet you nobody will even come out and say his is asking for an increase in minimum wage,” Ajaero said.

“But we are receiving N18,000 at a time that you can’t pay house rent, in fact, electricity bill is more than N18,000.”

He argued that the poor wage being paid to workers was part of the reasons why the country is in a recession.

“Because if you don’t pay good wage, you can’t revive the economy,” he added.

Ozo-Eson said the workers will also use the May Day celebrations to protest against state governors owing months of salaries and pensions.

He said, “There are a number of issues on the table and we do understand that workers will use this opportunity to also ventilate their views on those issues.

“Among them are of course the issues of salary arrears and pensions. And workers clearly will come to demonstrate against those governors who have not managed their affairs properly and are owing several months of salaries and pensions.”

Bayelsa Civil Servants To Receive Salaries Before Month Ends

Bayelsa Civil Servants To Receive Salaries Before Month EndsDespite the economic situation in the country, Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, has assured civil servants in the state of prompt payment of their salaries in 2017.

The Governor gave the assurance during a meeting with the leadership of the organized labour‎ inside the Government House Yenagoa.

He explained that his administration is not interested in owing civil servants and pensioners, and promised that their salaries woulkd hit their accounts before the end of each month.

He, however, informed the labour leaders that should there be any development that will hamper the payment of the full salaries, he would communicate to them with necessary details, praying that such unpleasant situation does not arise.

Dickson thanked the labour leaders for their support and understanding during the period the government paid only 50% of salaries and noted that their refusal to be used by desperate politicians was the hallmark of their patriotism and loyalty to the state.

“I want to thank you, I appreciate the commitment and understanding you have shown. I am very grateful; the government is very happy with our workforce.

Let us all work together so we reposition the service for greater service delivery for people of our state”.

In his remark, the chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) John Ndiomu lauded the Governor for informing them on the latest reforms he is introducing in the civil service and expressed labour’s readiness to always collaborate with the government.

Kwara Govt, Labour Disagree Over Consultant Involvement In Salaries Payment

kwara, labour leaders, salary payment Government and labour leaders in Kwara State are in disagreement over alleged plans by the government to employ a consultant for the payment of local government workers’ salaries.

There seems to be no end in sight for the lingering crisis between the workers of the 16 local government areas in Kwara State, as the chairmen of the councils and the labour leaders accuse the State Government of planning to employ a consultant for the payment of their salaries.

While the labour leaders described the proposed plan of the government as an infringement on the independence of the local governments, the State government on its part, described the allegation as untrue and merely a figment of the imagination of the labour leaders as there was only a consultant for the workers verification exercise.

Irregular Payment Of Salaries

In the past four months, workers of the 16 local government areas under the aegis of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) have been at loggerheads with the chairmen of the council over the irregular payment of their salaries.

This issue led to a protest at the Government House where the State government tried to resolve the issue between the labour and the local government areas by paying one month full salary.

However, the State government who was then the peacemaker is now being accused by the officials of the workers who said the State government had concluded plans to employ a consultant for the payment of the workers’ salaries.

On the alleged plan to hand over the payment of salaries to a consultant, the secretary of (NULGE) pointed out it would further cripple the activities of the third tier of the government.

He also added that the chairmen of the council would soon sign a memorandum of understanding with the State government to that effect.

In reaction to this, the Chairman of Ilorin East Local Government who is also the state chairman of Association of Local Governments in Nigeria, Lateef Okandeji, denied ever signing any agreement to that effect.

He said that the the Joint Account Allocation Committee was the highest decision body and no issue was discussed.

The State Commissioner for Information, Mahmud Ajeigbe, also denied the accusation and urged the labour leaders to always verify issues before reacting.

He, however, agreed to contracting the verification exercise of workers in the state in order to fish out ghost workers but not for the payment of workers’ salaries as being insinuated.

Despite the ongoing rage by both parties, the labour leaders and State government are expected to amicably settle the issue for the benefit of the workers.

Ondo Strike: Labour, Government Meeting Ends In Deadlock

labourTalks between the Ondo State government ‎and the labour leaders in the state ended in a deadlock on Tuesday, as both parties were not able to come to terms on ending the worker’s industrial action.

The meeting which lasted several hours behind closed doors was held at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s Office in Akure, the State Capital.

The government’s team led by the State Head of Civil Service, Toyin Akinkuotu and the State Commissioner for Finance, Yele Ogundipe offered to pay one month out of the six months owed to the workers.

Responding on behalf of the labour leaders, the Chairman, Joint Negotiating Council, Sunday Adeleye, said both parties were yet to reach an agreement and that the strike would continue while negotiations would also commence again on Thursday.

The State government has since June 1 lost several millions of Naira Internally Generated Revenue which is further having adverse effect on the state’s economy.

Oyo Workers’ Strike: Ajimobi, Labour Leaders Hold Peace Parley

ajimobi, labour leadersThe Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, has finally held an extensive peace parley with the national leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Nigerian Union of Teachers, in a bid to resolve the dispute that culminated in the ongoing industrial action by the workers.

The NLC was led to the parley by the Deputy President of the NLC, Comrade Peter Adeyemi, while the Chairman of the NLC, Comrade Waheed Oloyede, led NUT to the meeting that lasted more than seven hours.

The meeting started after a mega rally was staged by the national and state chapters of the NLC round the state capital in Ibadan to gather more support from the people and also press home their demands to the Governor.

Briefing the press after the meeting, Adeyemi said that the meeting was fruitful, stressing that the parties were yet to reach a conclusion on the matter following the request by the labour representatives to be given 24 hours to enable them brief the congress on the outcome of the meeting.

He added that the final decision of the labour unions would be communicated to members of the public through the media after meeting with the congress on Thursday.

The agitations of labour had been summarised at the congress that held before the rally where labour insisted that it would not back down until Government reverses its decision to involve public private partnership in the administration of public secondary schools in the state.

They also stated that they want seven months outstanding salaries paid.

It was few hours after this congress that the Speaker Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Micheal Adeyemo finally succeeded in brokering peace by bringing the two sides to dialogue.

Besides commending the Governor for his “understanding, patience and tolerance,” the NLC boss also saluted the Speaker of the House of Assembly for facilitating the meeting with the Governor.

In his response, the Governor lauded the commitment and maturity with which the national leadership of the union handled the labour impasse, pointing out that the labour leaders displayed sincerity of purpose and high sense of maturity.

Ajimobi said that the meeting reflected government’s honesty and sincerity on various issues that came up for discussion at the parley.

He also added that he remained committed to lifting the state beyond its current limits and urged labour to end the strike.

“We are by this dialogue deepening democracy. Democracy is about discussion, consultation and all of us must participate in it because there is no other way out other than to ensure the continued progress and development of our state and the country at large.

“We have had a family discussion and I’m optimistic that the crisis will soon be laid to rest. Dialogue is the potent weapon in any dispute and that is what I have been advocating. It’s good to jaw-jaw instead of war-war,” Governor Ajimobi said.

Labour Unions Support Buhari’s Anti-corruption Crusade

NLC-tuc-anti-corruptionLabour leaders under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Kwara State on Thursday carried out a peaceful anti-corruption rally in Ilorin, the state capital.

The rally which started at the Labour House in Ilorin, took members of the organised labour unions through Ahmadu Bello way to the Government House, to submit a letter in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade.

Members of the Unions, who carried placards with various inscriptions, like Let Us Kill Corruption! Before It Kills Us and Corruption Will Kill Nigeria If Not Killed, as well as, Stealing Is Corruption, marched their way to the Government House in Ilorin.

At the seat of power, they presented a letter to the representative of the State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed for onward delivery to President Buhari.

Speaking during the rally, the Kwara State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Yekini Agunbiade said the rally was in line with the directive of the national leadership of the congress, to support the ongoing war against corruption.

Comrade Agunbiade said corruption had created bad image for the country and its citizens, pointing out that it had led to factory closure, retrenchment and worsen unemployment situation in Nigeria.

In response, Governor Ahmed who was represented by the state Head of Service, Hajia Zarah Omar, commended the Unions for rallying support for the President’s anti-corruption crusade, assuring that the letter would be forwarded appropriately.

The Governor also thanked the Unions for ensuring industrial harmony and promised that the government would continue to address issues affecting workers in the state.

In Kano as well, the Unions held a special rally, calling on the government to strengthen the power of all anti-graft agency, by giving them independence to arrest whoever is involved in any act of corruption.

They were met by an official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) who assured them that the commission will not leave any stone unturned in the fight against corruption.

 

Osun NLC Suspends Strike Again, Recalls Workers

osun workers strike-nlcThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Osun State has again suspended its ongoing eight weeks industrial action, with a call on Workers to resume work immediately.

The workers union ended the strike after it singed another Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) with the State government at the Governors Office in Abere, Osun State.

The Chairman of the NLC in Osun State, Jacob Adekomi, explained that the agreement contained a promise to pay workers the salary for February 2015, with effect from August 3, while the balance of the fraction payment made to level eight and above would be returned.

Adekomi said that the decision to suspend the industrial action was in the interest of the state workforce and the State government, believing that the government would live up to its part of the agreement.

While directing all the workers to resume with immediate effect, the NLC Chairman maintained that the state government had renewed its commitment to full employment ‎and not retrenchment of its workforce.

The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, said that the government had never reneged on its agreement. He also explained that the industrial action was due to shortfall in the Federal Allocation which was not peculiar to the state alone.

Last week, the Labour Leaders resolved to continue with the strike until the State government fulfilled its part of the agreement contained in the MoU.

However, the Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Bayo Adejumo, maintained that workers would not return to work until the full payment of January and February salary was implemented.

F.G. plans to increase workforce, not sack –Labour minister

In reaction to the call by the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi for the Federal Government to lay off half of its workforce, the Minister of Labour Emeka Wogu has assured Nigerian workers not to panic as the Federal Government does not intend to sack but to retain and increase its workforce.

The minister gave this assurance in Ilorin at the 8th National Labour Summit organized by Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies.

“I speak authoritatively and I want to be quoted. Both the TUC and the NLC should not be agitated on the issue because the Federal Government is committed to protecting and creating more jobs in the country,”

The main auditorium of the institute was filled to capacity by different categories of people who came from far and near to participate in the summit.

The President of the Trade Union Congress Peter Esele and the vice president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Issa Aremu threw shots at the CBN Governor, as they both condemned Sanusi’s call for the Federal Government to reduce its workforce by half.

The labour leaders concluded that Nigeria could move forward if government revived the real sector of the economy – manufacturing, transportation, textile, food drinks and beverages and other key sectors of the economy, adding that government should enhance the labour force with intervention fund to achieve more for the country.

Allaying the fears of the workers, the minister of labour, Emeka Wogu highlighted several methods of the government to maintain and create new jobs and called on Nigerian workers not to be disturbed by the outburst of the Central Bank Governor.

He said that a committee has been set up to create more jobs in multi sectors of the nation, saying the committee would commence work next week, as the President is bent on implementing job creation policies, particularly in sectors like agriculture, construction, ICT, and tourism, among others.

Though, he contended that job creation was mostly driven by the private sector, he, however, said that the government was creating enabling environment for the private sector to thrive, adding that government owed the society the responsibility to do just that.

While the Kwara state government also explained various methods put in place to create jobs in order to reduce youth restiveness, the Director General of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, Niyi Olarewaju noted that the need to give serious attention to social protection informs the summit and called on government at all levels to tackle unemployment.

Some notable Nigerians including former labour leaders were given awards for their contribution to labour development in the country.