Minimum Wage: Labour Threatens To Strike Again

Labour leaders have again threatened to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to transmit the new minimum wage structure to the National Assembly on or before December 31, 2018.

The leaders who met in Lagos on Thursday said they will not be part of the planned High-Powered Technical Committee as announced by President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2019 budget presentation.

They insisted that all discussions have ended on the new minimum wage as the labour union has since taken a stand.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba

This comes just a day after President Muhammadu Buhari told the National Assembly that he will send a bill on the implementation of the new minimum wage, soon.

Read Also: FG Set To Send Minimum Wage Bill To National Assembly

He said this while presenting the 2019 Budget proposal before the joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

The President said: “We have included the implementation for the National Minimum Wage. I will be sending a Bill to this National Assembly, on this.”

He added that he had directed the setting up of a technical committee to look at the mode of implementation.

Rivers Will Pay N30,000 Minimum Wage If FG Agrees – Wike

 

The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has promised to pay the proposed N30,000 as minimum wage if approved by the Federal Government.

The governor mentioned this on Saturday during the foundation laying of an ultra-modern secretariat for the Trade Union Congress in the state, performed by the group’s national president.

He, however, says labour must realize that they are part of the building process of the country and should understand that all government’s revenue cannot be used to pay wages.

Read Also: I’m Fully Committed To A New National Minimum Wage Act – Buhari

“We make promises and we fulfil them. The only one left which you are contending with at the national level is the minimum wage.

“If you people agree, we will pay, but I’m not one of those who made that promise.

“The party that made the promise should solve the problem. I’m not here to solve anybody’s problem. (But) if you people agree we will do it. But I will not come and begin to stay in a meeting for 15 hours… that, I will not do but I’m in support. It’s just that your demands are so many.

“Today it is secretariat, the next day it is increment, the next it is pensions,” Wike said.

The Federal Government and labour leaders have been in disagreement over the amount to be paid as minimum wage.

While FG insists on paying N24,000 as against labour’s demands of N30,000, President Buhari says he is working hard to ensure that the nation gets a new National Minimum Wage Act as soon as possible.

He stated this on Tuesday while receiving the report of the Tripartite Committee on Review of National Minimum Wage at the State House in Abuja.

The President also asked the labour leaders to show patience and understanding with the government while the report of the committee is being reviewed.

Minimum Wage: Tripartite Committee To Submit Report To Buhari Today

Buhari Condoles With Nasarawa Govt Over Gas Explosion
President Muhammadu Buhari (file)

 

The tripartite committee set up to agree on the new national minimum wage will today present its report to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The chairman of the committee said this after its meeting with the labour leaders late on Monday night.

It, however, failed to reach a consensus as the Federal government insisted on paying N24,000 as against labour’s demands of N30, 000.

Following the failure of the government to meet their demands, the organised labour had threatened to embark on a nationwide strike starting from today (November 6).

It, however, suspended the planned strike.

Read Also: Minimum Wage: Buhari Begs Labour To Shelve Planned Strike

The National Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, announced the suspension at the end of the meeting of the tripartite committee on Monday.

According to Wabba, the decision to suspend the strike was taken after agreements were reached and documents signed.

Minimum Wage: Buhari Begs Labour To Shelve Planned Strike

Minimum Wage: Buhari Begs Labour To Shelve Planned Strike
President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during a meeting at the State House in Abuja on November 2, 2018.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday intervened in the impasse between the Federal Government and the organised labour over the minimum wage for workers in the country.

He appealed to the labour unions, especially the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to consider what his administration inherited from the previous governments.

The President explained that the present government was doing more with the ‘fewer resources’ at its disposal in putting the nation’s economy right.

READ ALSO: Nigerians’ Interest Should Be Paramount, Saraki Tells FG, Labour

He made the remarks when he received members of the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) led by Ambassador Oladapo Fafowora at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

President Buhari reassured Nigerians that his administration would sustain the massive investments to upgrade and develop the country’s transport and power infrastructure.

He, however, said Nigerians would never forget the “lost opportunity between 1999 and 2015,” when the nation had huge resources at its disposal.

“There is no part of the country I haven’t been to, having attempted to be President four times,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

The President added, “I know the condition of our roads. The rails were literally killed; there was no power despite the admittance of some previous leadership that they spent $16 billion on the sector.

“Today, we are getting our priorities right and we believe that of the three fundamental issues we campaigned on – security, the economy and fighting corruption –; we have remained very relevant and Nigerians believe we have achieved something.”

President Buhari also used the occasion to appreciate the People’s Republic of China for financing some of the rail and power projects in the country through concessionary loans.

“I will do my best to see that where there are possibilities of making a quick improvement on infrastructure, we will do it,” he assured the ARCAN members.

The President took note of some concerns raised by the retired ambassadors such as an appeal for the adjustment of their pension entitlements and retention of diplomatic passport for retired career ambassadors.

Other issues raised include allocation of land for ARCAN headquarters in Abuja and adequate funding of the Foreign Affairs ministry, among others.

Planned Strike: Nigerians’ Interest Should Be Paramount, Saraki Tells FG, Labour

Strike: Nigerians' Interest Should Be Paramount, Saraki Tells FG, Labour
Senate President Bukola Saraki (file)

 

Senate President Bukola Saraki has called on the Federal Government as well as the organised labour to be more concerned about the interest of the people.

He made the appeal on Monday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu.

The lawmaker said asked the government to work together with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), to avert the proposed workers’ strike which he said would put Nigerians in a difficult situation.

“At this point, the interest of the people should be paramount in our minds,” he stated. “Any labour strike will cause inconvenience and discomfort to our people.”

Saraki added, “While the government and labour are representing the interest of the people, it is important to also ensure we avoid any action that will not show sensitivity and sensibility to the plight of the people.”

To this end, he urged both parties to demonstrate sensitivity and concern for the plight of ordinary Nigerians who are already battling with the harsh economic conditions in the country.

He also stressed the need for them to immediately create a new middle ground in the negotiations for the new minimum wage.

Dr Saraki, however, thanked the labour leaders for the patience displayed so far, noting that the issue of the new minimum wage could have been resolved long before now.

He said, “My Appeal is for the two sides to immediately move fast, shift from their extreme positions and create a new middle ground in the negotiations for the new minimum wage.

”The shift in positions can be done even before the period of the commencement of the proposed strike action so that we do not further create tension within the economy.”

The Labour unions have threatened to commence a nationwide indefinite industrial action strike on Tuesday if the Federal Government fails to intervene and seal the negotiations on a national minimum wage of N30,000.

Labour Leaders Meet With FG Over Minimum Wage

File photo: NLC leadership holds a press briefing

 

Some members of the organized labour unions have arrived at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in Abuja, for a meeting to finalize negotiations over the new minimum wage.

The president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, his general secretary and some representatives of the Trade Union Congress, as well as the chairman of the National Income and Wages Commission, were seen arriving the premises.

Also present is the Governor of Kebbi State, who is one of the governors’ representatives in the tripartite committee and the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige.

Read Also: Labour Leaders Shun Meeting With FG Over Minimum Wage

 

Some of those arriving at the office of the SGF

 

The meeting comes barely 24 hours after the labour leaders boycotted a meeting convened by the Federal Government.

It is expected to be a closed-door meeting, after which the media will be briefed on the outcome.

The labour leaders who are seeking an upward review of the current minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000 had earlier threatened to commence a nationwide strike on November 6 if the government failed to meet their demands today.

Osinbajo Meets With Ministers Of Labour, Finance, Budget Over Minimum Wage

Yemi Osinbajo

 

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has met with the Ministers of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and Budget, Udoma Udo Udoma over the minimum wage.

The Labour Minister, Chris Ngige confirmed the meeting to journalists at the State House on Wednesday.

He noted that a full-scale meeting has been scheduled to take place on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

Osinbajo had earlier met with some governors over the minimum wage on Monday.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the new minimum wage of N22,500 proposed by governors.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, insisted that the planned industrial action slated for November 6, 2018, will hold.

He described the resolution of the governors as unknown to Labour laws and contrary to the overall decision of the Tripartite Committee.

 

FG, Labour Disagree Over New Minimum Wage

 

The Federal Government disagreed with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday over the new minimum wage demanded by workers in the country.

The disagreement was a result of the twist in the lingering controversy, as the government said it would implement the ‘no work no pay’ policy.

Director of Trade Union Services at the Ministry of Labour, Mrs Omabie Akpan, and NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, spoke on the matter when they appeared on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television’s breakfast show.

Following the impasse in the new minimum wageMrs Akpan insisted that the government would implement the “no work, no pay policy”.

“They (Federal Government) are just implementing the policy now, the policy has been in existence since 2004,” she said.

“Government is trying to bring to the attention of the workforce the fact that there exists such a provision in the Trade Dispute Act so that they will abide by the provisions of the law.”

According to the government official, it is wrong for labour leaders to embark on an industrial action while negotiations are ongoing.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and the Director of Trade Union Services, Ministry of Labour, Mrs Omabie Akpan.

 

Mr Wabba, however, gave a different opinion, arguing that it was the fundamental right of workers to proceed on strike as enshrined in the labour laws.

He stressed that the rights of the Nigerian workers must be protected, as they are what separate them from slaves.

“The rights to strike is a core trade union and human rights and that is why our laws recognise the rights of a worker to a strike,” the NLC president said.

“That is what differentiates a slave from a worker. A worker can exercise that right that is provided in our law.”

He added, “Section 41 of the Trade Dispute Act provided condition precedent for a worker that is working on areas that are dangerous to proceed on strike by issuing a 15-day notice.”

The disagreement between the government and the labour body comes three weeks after the organised labour called off the nationwide strike it embarked upon in September.

Wabba explained that the industrial action was due to the refusal of the government to reconvene the meeting of the Tripartite Committee to enable it to conclude its work on the new national minimum wage demanded by workers.

 

Minimum Wage: Labour Faults FG, Insists Tripartite Committee Concluded Its Work

 

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has faulted the claims of the Federal Government that it had not reached an agreement on the national minimum wage with the labour leaders.

In a statement on Wednesday, jointly signed by the union leaders, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, Comrade Bala Bobboi Kaigama and Comrade Joe Ajaero, they insisted that the tripartite committee had concluded its work, contrary to the claims of the Federal Government.

The labour leaders also stated that that the committee had adopted a figure through a formal motion moved, seconded and adopted in the absence of any counter motion.

“Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige claiming that no amount has been agreed by the Tripartite Committee as recommendation to government.

“The report further claimed that the Minister said that government was still negotiating with Labour.

“It is rather unfortunate and sad if, indeed, the Honourable Minister made those statements.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Organised Labour representatives wish to state unequivocally that the Tripartite Committee concluded its work, adopted a figure through a formal motion moved, seconded and adopted in the absence of any counter motion.

“This was after a thorough debate of a report from the sub-committee figure, chaired by Senator Ngige himself, which presented four scenarios for consideration,” the statement read in part.

The labour leaders further explained that the “sub-committee worked on the basis of a figure proposed by the Federal Government, figures proposed by a number of state governments as well as proposals submitted by the Organised Private Sector and Organised Labour”.

Read Also: No Agreement Yet On New Minimum Wage – FG

Also, according to them, the committee formally adjourned its sitting with a decision that a date will be communicated to members for the signing of the report and submission of same to President Buhari.

The labour leaders said they were displeased with what they described as an attempt to delay the processes needed to promulgate a new National Minimum Wage.

They, therefore, called on the government to take immediate necessary steps to ensure the enactment of a new National Minimum Wage, adding that if immediate action is not taken, they “cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony”.

Labour Vows To Shut Down Lagos Airport

 

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has vowed to shut down the Lagos airport and other facilities in the state, following the organisation’s directive to commence a nationwide strike.

The NLC Vice President, Amaechi Asugwuni, who was addressing journalists on Thursday, while aggrieved workers embarked on a protest in the Alausa area of Lagos, said the decision was in compliance with directives of the national leadership of the union.

“From here, we are going round Lagos to ensure that every institution is indeed shut down. Today if the airport is opportune to open today, I am very sure that they will not open tomorrow. Nobody flies in this country,” he said.

The comments come less than 24 hours after the Federal Government held a meeting with the national leadership of the NLC to reach a conclusion over the new minimum wage.

The meeting, however, ended in a deadlock.

Consequently, the NLC directed all its members and affiliate unions to commence the industrial action.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, had insisted that there was no going back on the nationwide strike, as the Federal Government had failed to meet their demands.

The VP, Asugwuni maintained that the workers in Lagos State would ensure full compliance with the industrial action.

Lagos NLC

 

Furthermore, he accused the Federal Government of being insensitive to their needs and denying workers an opportunity to an enhanced wage across the federation.

He said, “The indefinite adjournment of the minimum wage is a ploy to deny Nigerian workers an opportunity to earn an enhanced wage. We will refuse it, we will resist it and we will do everything within our power to ensure that indeed struggle and liberation come by what we are doing.”

The workers are demanding an upward review of the minimum wage from N18,000 to between N50,000 and N65,000.

German Unions, Employers Stake Out Battle Lines

Tensions rose between unions and employers in the Germany’s key metalworking sector Wednesday, as the two sides prepare for a showdown over pay and conditions beginning next week.

The IG Metall union — which represents 3.9 million workers in the metalworking and electrical sectors — is planning to stage a series of warning strikes next Monday to ratchet up the pressure on employers.

The union is demanding wage increases of six percent and the right to temporarily switch to a 28-hour work week.

The walkouts — limited to a number of hours — are part of the traditional sabre-rattling that accompanies the negotiations which, given the economic importance of the sector and the size of the union, act as a benchmark for many other sectors and set the tone for labour relations nationwide.

IG Metall’s north German division will call for “several hours of walkouts at more than 140 firms” between Monday and the next round of talks with employers on January 18, the union said in a statement.

It will hold demonstrations in the states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and the city-states of Bremen and Hamburg.

“We want to know from the employers where we are by the end of January,” IG Metall regional chief Meinhard Geiken said.

If bosses refuse to budge, further strikes including 24-hour walkouts will follow, he warned.

Employers are especially resistant to the idea of allowing workers to switch to part-time hours with only limited impact on wages.

Gesamtmetall employers’ federation director, Oliver Zander, told news agency DPA the demand would be “unfair and discriminatory” against those who have previously moved to part-time work under less generous conditions.

The demand was also “illegal”, he argued.

Company bosses presented a legal opinion seen by DPA Wednesday, which they believe shows that the strikes themselves would also be against the law.

IG Metall believes its part-time work demands and the strikes are legal.

AFP

Obaseki, Labour Disagree Over Promotion Exams

Obaseki, Labour Disagree Over Promotion Exams
File photo

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has refuted reports that his administration is in the process of pruning down the civil service through promotional examination for public servants.

Governor Obaseki told reporters on Wednesday at one of the examination centres in Benin City that the evaluation would help government improve the service delivery of its workforce.

He added that the exercise was in good faith and asked civil servants not to fear, saying the examination was necessary to fill the available vacant positions of directors in the state civil service.

Obaseki stated that the senior government workers were going through a promotion examination and not competency test as being insinuated.

He said, “Before promotions are made, civil servants need to go through a promotion examination, not competency test. They are already competent and that is why they are working in the service.”

The governor explained that the examinations earlier conducted for level 16 and 17 officers in the state were used to discover some civil servants who filled the vacancies of permanent secretaries.

He added that the just concluded examination would also help the administration understand the kind of training needed to build the civil service.

“We are not sacking anybody, but we want to strengthen the service so that they can deliver good and efficient services to the state.

“The examination is not compulsory but necessary for promotion as those who needed to be promoted have to write the examination. If you fail to do the test, then there are no bases to promote you,” Obaseki said.

However, labour unions in the state noted that the whole idea of promotion examinations for civil servants would not be tolerated.

The Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Edo State chapter, Emmanuel Ademokun; as well as the Vice Chairman of Joint Negotiating Council, Joe Amokhai, argued that the examinations contradict the labour law.