Minimum Wage: NLC Threatens Fresh Industrial Action November 6

NLC, Tax, Nigeria
File photo: NLC President, Ayuba Wabba

 

The organized labour comprising of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has threatened to embark on a fresh nationwide industrial action on November 6.

According to the groups they will be protesting over what they describe as the government’s unwillingness to implement a new minimum wage for workers.

In the statement jointly signed by the leaders of the two labour centers, they accused the Federal Government of deliberately refusing to forward the resolutions of the tripartite committee.

They claimed that after series of negotiations, the committee had reached a consensus for a minimum wage of N30,000 but the Federal Government has failed to take further necessary actions.

According to the statement, the organized labour will proceed on the nationwide strike action, if the Federal Government refuses to take the necessary actions on the resolutions which they describe as a done deal.

The organized labour and the Federal Government have been enmeshed in serious debates over a new wage structure for workers.

This has led to several industrial actions, with the government threatening to enforce a “no work, no pay” policy for the workers.

The Nigeria Governors Forum, on the other hand, has stated that although the governors are not against a new wage structure for workers, some states lack the capacity to pay.

Nasarawa Govt Commends Labour Unions As Workers End Strike

(File photo) Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura

The Nasarawa State government has commended the organised labour in the state for its resilience in protecting the rights of workers and agreeing to hold talks for the resolution of their industrial action.

The Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state, Yusuf Shehu, gave the commendation on behalf of the government at a meeting with labour leaders at the office of the head of civil service.

He said, “The resolution is for the greater benefit of the people of Nasarawa State. I wish to commend you for your resilience, perseverance and patience. I, on behalf of the government, extend our profound gratitude to the organised labour in Nasarawa state and the national officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress.”

The Head of Service, Mr Thomas Ogiri, said dialogue was the way out of any industrial dispute.

He said, “When workers go on strike, it is not only the government that will suffer but even the ordinary man in the street.

“I want to say, and that has been our position, that dialogue is preferred than unnecessary action that does not pay anybody. I want to still encourage workers to pursue the path of dialogue in all our dealings and their relationship with government.”

On his part, the Nasarawa state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress Abdullahi Adeka, urged workers to resume work as the government has agreed to pay outstanding salaries.

“The salaries of February and March 2017 are outstanding and the government has agreed to pay accordingly,” he said, adding that the payment of salaries to workers should be as earlier agreed based on the executed collective bargaining agreement (CBA), of 10th December 2016.
He also said it was agreed that there would be no victimisation as a result of the strike.

“Consequent upon the above, it was unanimously agreed that the ongoing industrial action by the organised labour in Nasarawa state is hereby suspended forthwith,” he said.

The civil servants had started an industrial action on the 12th of May.

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.”

Osinbajo Meets With Labour Unions

We Hear You, Loud And Clear, Osinbajo Tells ProtestersThe Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said that job creation, economic empowerment and fight against corruption will remain the focus of President Buhari’s administration.

The Vice President stated this while speaking with a selected group of labour leaders, who stormed his conference room following the demonstration by the union at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Having experienced road block by security personnel at the three arms zone, the labour leaders selected some members of their leadership to head to the seat of government at the presidential villa, to register their protest.

The leaders of the Labour Union expressed concern on the issues of governance and systemic corruption facing the nation.

The VP said, “This administration is committed towards empowering Nigerians irrespective of their status.

“A successful fight against corruption will not be feasible without the support of Nigerians”.

Labour Unions Disrupt Education Forum In Oyo

Education, Oyo, Labour UnionsLabour unions Wednesday disrupted a stakeholders’ interactive forum on the future of public secondary schools in Oyo State, southwest Nigeria.

Some members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state invaded the Western Hall venue of the forum to chase participants out in the process.

The state’s NLC Chairman, Waheed Olojede, NUT Chairman, Niyi Akano, and the Coordinator of the Joint Action Front, Dr. Ademola Aremu, among other union leaders stormed the venue to prevent any dialogue from taking place.

Some of the participants, who came to represent missionaries at the event, had to scamper to safety as banners were torn while other stakeholders were chased out.

In a swift reaction, the Oyo State government condemned the attack on innocent members of the public describing it as ‘uncivilised and ill advised’.

Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Mr Olalekan Alli, said government was not selling any school nor returning any to former missionary owners.

Public Schools, Banks Closed As NLC, JAF Protest In Osun

NLC, Strike, OsunResidents in Osogbo, the Osun State capital woke up to traffic gridlock and lull in commercial activities as members of the Nigerian Labour Congress and civil society groups under the  Joint Action Front (JAF) took to the streets.

Chanting solidarity songs, they protested the increase in the price of petrol in compliance with the directive of the NLC.

‎The protesters who mounted a roadblock at the Olaiya roundabout which is the major entry route into the town, also sat on the floor making it impossible for motorists to drive in and out of the state capital.

Back at the state secretariat in Abeere, some labour leaders were on standby preventing workers from gaining entrance into the premises.

Banks ‎and other government parastatals were shut, students of public schools were sent back home, while shops and market places in the town were half open for business activities.

While speaking with journalists during the protest, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Jacob Adekomi, said that the strike would go on as long as the government refuses to yield to their demands.

He noted that as far as they were concerned in Osun State, the strike has been successful.

The Chairman of ASUU in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Dr. Caleb Aborisade, said, “Throughout Nigeria, we held a special congress yesterday and we have all resolved that this strike is indefinite and is total.

“We have resolved to pursue it until Federal Government listens to our voice. If they refuse to listen, we will not surrender too.”

 

 

 

Federal, State Civil Servants Join NLC Strike In Cross River

Workers-protestBoth federal and state civil servants in Calabar, the Cross River State capital joined in the nationwide NLC strike protesting the hike in petrol price.

Public schools as well as the state secretariat remained locked.

Labour unions took to major streets of Calabar in a solidarity walk carrying placards with different inscriptions to convey their disapproval over the hike in petrol price and electricity tariff by the Buhari-led administration.

The labour unions are demanding that the President see to it that the nation’s refineries begin to function and salaries of civil servants are increased before government can increase petroleum pump price.

Okorocha Recommends Reduction In Govt. Workforce

Okorocha, workforceThe Governor of Imo State, Mr Rochas Okorocha, says for government to achieve any meaningful impact on the lives of Nigerians, there must be a reduction of its workforce.

Okorocha told Channels Television Johannesburg Bureau Chief, Betty Dibia, in South Africa that the removal of fuel subsidy and government’s announced palliatives do not necessarily mean states will earn more.

He highlighted one of the issues which he believes has affected the economy of states.

“The problem we have in Nigeria is that we have recurrent welfarism states and there is no capital aspect of the project. So what you do every day is salaries.

“A situation where you collect 2.6 billion and you have to pay 5.6 billion, so you have to look for 3billion every month (borrowed) is just not feasible.

“The number of workers in the civil service can as well go to the productive sector of the economy but nobody wants to hear this.

“We should create jobs but civil service jobs is not job creation, it is job creation on the basis of sentiment and politics.

“If we want to create real jobs, lets create jobs in the agricultural sector and the manufacturing sector. If we can take 70% of the population of the workers in the civil service and bring them to the manufacturing sector, then their salaries can go to 200,000 to 500,000.”

He explained further why states should not be asked to pay the 56,000 Naira minimum wage across the board as being demanded by the labour unions.

“I don’t believe that this salary across the board is the right thing. Lagos is a very rich state, they can afford to pay 100,000. Akwa-Ibom can afford to pay 200,000 and so many states in Nigeria

“Imo State gets about 2.6 billion Naira every month when other states get about 13 billion. So what I get in one year is what some states get in one month.

“What the entire South-East collects in one month is not up to what Rivers collects in one month. So we cannot put everybody on the same level, it should be according to their states.

“Then if we must pay that money – 56,000 – 100,000 as the case may be, we must address the issue of this overpopulated workforce,” he said.

 

FG, Labour Meeting Over Petrol Price Rescheduled For Tuesday

labour-union-Federal-government-meetingTalks between the Federal Government and labour unions as part of efforts to avert the planned strike by Nigeria Labour Congress to resist an increase in the price of petrol are continuing on Tuesday.

The meeting was rescheduled after both parties could not reach an agreement in an earlier meeting on Monday.

According to Channels TV correspondent, the dialogue, which held in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), had in attendance the SGF, representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), PENGASSAN, as well as the Governor of Edo State.

The SGF is leading a delegation of ministers and other representatives of the federal government in the meeting with the union leaders.

While appealing to the workers’ union leaders to put the nation’s interest ahead of theirs as they went into the meeting, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, said that the decision to deregulate the petroleum was the only option for the government to tackle the nation’s financial predicament.

However, the President of the NLC said that the meeting would present them the opportunity to table issues in the minds of the workers to the government.

Organised labour has set Wednesday, May 18 to go on an indefinite strike if the federal government fails to meet its demand of reverting the pump price of petrol to 86.50 kobo per litre.

On Sunday, the National Vice President of the NLC, Mr Amechi Asugwuni, warned that Nigerian workers would down tools if the government failed to revert to the old price.

Before the increase in the price of petrol on May 11, the union had earlier proposed a new minimum wage of 56,000 Naira, insisting that the increment was long overdue.

PENGASSAN, NUPENG, the Pilots and Engineers unions had supported the decision of the government to increase petrol pump price, something that many have seen as an obstacle in the way of the Nigeria Labour Congress’ resistance to the increase.

 

Labour Union Gives FG Four Days To Revert Petrol Price

civil servantsThe Nigeria Labour Congress has issued the Federal Government a 4-day ultimatum to revert to the old petrol pump price of 86.50 Naira or risk a nationwide protest.

The ultimatum will expire on Tuesday midnight.

After the Nigerian government announced a new price band of 145 Naira per litre on May 11, the labour union kicked against the increase, saying it will resist it.

“Height Of Insensitivity”

It said the unilateral increase in prices of petroleum products “represents the height of insensitivity and impunity”.

The new price band of 145 Naira per litre for Premium Motor Spirit was announced by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.

No fuel service station is, however, allowed to sell above the price band, the Minister stressed.

He had explained that the increase had become necessary due to the scarcity that had lingered for months caused by unavailability of the product occasioned by the challenges of getting foreign exchange and low production capacity of the refineries in the oil producing nation.

Dr. Kachikwu had assured Nigerians that in the next six months, competition would force the price down.

However, the labour union said the increase was the least one had expected at this point in time, insisting that the reason for the increase was unacceptable.

Not Removal Of Subsidy

Yemi-Osinbajo
Professor Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria will produce 70 per cent of its fuel consumption by Q4 of 2018

The unions four-day ultimatum came a day after the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, further gave reasons for the increase which critics said carried with it ‘hardship’.

He said: “I have read the various observations about the fuel pricing regime and the attendant issues generated. All certainly have strong points.

“The most important issue of course is how to shield the poor from the worst effects of the policy. I will hopefully address that in another note”.

Professor Osinbajo explained that the real issue was not a removal of subsidy, pointing out that with $40 a barrel there was not much of a subsidy to remove.

Petroleum Sector Unions Back Price Hike

Meanwhile, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, which are part of the labour unions, have supported the new petrol pump price by the Federal Government.

NUPENG

The voiced support formed part of a communique released by the two bodies at the end of a Joint National Executive Council Meeting held on Friday in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State in southern Nigeria.

The communique stated: “The increment was a step in the right direction.

“Government needs to engage with stakeholders to work out a clear direction on how to invest the gains into the economy to cushion the effect of the price”.

Kaduna Disco To Distribute Free 500,000 Pre-Paid Meters

Electricity-meterThe Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, says it has mapped out a five year plan to procure and distribute 500,000 pre-paid meters to its customers free of charge. 

The company’s  Head of  Corporate Communications, Abdulazeez Abdullahi,  told reporters that 100,000 pre-paid meters would be distributed to customers each year, as part of efforts to address issues associated with over-billing and estimated bills.

This is as business activities resumed at the Electricity Company a day after it was shut down as a result of protests by the organised labour over increased electricity tariff.

The Trade Union Congress and the Nigeria Labour Congress had On Monday kicked against the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC).

Operating At A Loss

The labour unions locked the main gate of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company during the protest. The unions while describing the increase as unjustifiable and anti-people, demanded for the reversal of the increase or they would continue with the protest.

Some of the customers – welders and business centre operators – complained that the increment was very high and had already affected their income.

Some of them, yet to get their own pre-paid meters, lamented being over billed heavily every month. They, however, called on the Federal Government to reverse the increment and make meters available to them.

Meanwhile, the management of KEDCO, insisted that the protest by the labour unions was unwarranted, as due process was followed by the government before the NERC came up with the increment.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing had also said that the increase in tariff was necessary to attract investment in the sector.

Speaking to Channels Television, Mr  Abdullahi explained that KEDCO held a consumers forum last year where the issue of the increment was tabled and agreed by all parties. He stated that since the company took over the management last year, it had been operating at a loss with the old tariff.

In spite of the challenges , Mr Abdullahi further explained that the company was currently carrying out customers’ enumeration with a view to knowing the actual number of electricity users within its franchise area.

He explained that the process would be followed with mass pre-paid meters deployment which should commence in due course.

The top official of KEDCO complained that customers under its network were owing over 30 billion Naira, a situation he said was affecting the smooth operation of the company to serve its customers better. According to him, a large chunk of the amount was owed by the Federal and State government agencies, parastatals and military institutions.

The Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company was handed over to the core investor on December 4, 2014, after the preferred bidder, the North-west Power Limited fulfilled all requirements.

While stating that electricity supply within its network coverage had improved significantly, KEDCO stressed that there was room for further improvement, as soon as its revenue profile got better.

Ekiti Election: Labour Unions Endorse Fayemi’s Re-election

Kayode-FayemiBarely seven days to the governorship election in Ekiti State, the leadership of labour unions in the state on Saturday threw its weight behind the re-election of Governor Kayode Fayemi.

The endorsement was made at a rally held in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital where the governor pledged his continual support for workers’ welfare.

The governor, who declared that his administration had delivered on its promises to the people, also urged them to ensure they obtain their voters card and secure their votes.

A mammoth crowd of ecstatic APC supporters at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium in Ado Ekiti the Ekiti State capital gathered to show solidarity for their party’s candidate in the forthcoming governorship election

The party’s campaign gets a major boost from workers in the state with an endorsement by the leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress.

The candidate, Kayode Fayemi, who is the incumbent governor, could not hide his delight over the certification of his candidature by labour unions in the state.

The governor, who boasts of the deliverables of his administration to the people, was quick to ask party supporters to ensure they were prepared for the election.