Minimum Wage: Labour, FG Fail To Reach Agreement

 

The Federal Government and representatives of organised labour have failed to reach an agreement on the full implementation of the new minimum wage, which includes the consequential adjustments of salaries for civil servants from grade level 7 to 17.

Members of both parties will also meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to finalise and possibly reach an agreement.

According to Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Amaechi Asugwuni, the meeting will help to address issues that remain critical.

“We actually thought the meeting will be concluded today but that prediction was unsuccessful, and therefore adjournment became necessary. To the best of our knowledge, the struggle we say continue applies.

“Tomorrow (Wednesday) we meet at 2 pm and that meeting also determine the fate of parties. We expect that we close that meeting positively. So far, commitments have been shown, but we believe the areas that are still in context are critical,” he added.

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The rescheduled meeting which is the deadline of the ultimatum issued by labour is also expected to iron out grey areas, and the Acting Head of Service who represented the Federal Government, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan stated that a final agreement will be reached after the meeting.

“Both sides have made a lot of concessions but we discovered that there are some grey areas that need to be ironed out, so some documents and information are being sourced, which we are providing and by tomorrow discussions will continue and we believe that we will be able to get everything resolved by tomorrow.”

The labour unions are demanding for a 29 percent salary increase for officers on grade 7 to 14, and 24 percent for grade 15 to 17, but the Federal Government is proposing 11 percent for officers on grade level 7 to 14, and 6.5 percent for officers on grade level 15 to 17.

Both the government and the workers’ unions are however keeping sealed lips on who is ready to shift grounds on the demands and proposals already made.

Minimum Wage: Labour’s Strike Mobilisation Continues, Says NLC

 

Leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have insisted that despite ongoing talks with the Federal Government, mobilisation for a strike action continues.

Labour leaders met with representatives of the Federal Government on Monday to deliberate on the full implementation of the new N30,000 minimum wage and the consequential adjustment of salaries for civil servants.

Addressing journalists after a two-hour meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment in Abuja, the Deputy President of the NLC, Mr Amaechi Asugwuni stated that the labour unions will only back down if there is a consensus at the joint negotiating meeting with the FG on Tuesday.

“We believe that the meeting today will give birth to whatever you see tomorrow, but labour is prepared to take any step in driving their demands home. We believe we have done beyond the expectation, so what is needed of Government is to reciprocate in doing what is needful in appreciating their workers.

“We are talking about compensation, salary and tomorrow’s meeting is truly the benchmark for action but mobilisation continues, labour mobilization continues, tomorrow’s meeting will tell us the way forward because anything can happen,” he added.

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

Mr Asugwuni added that the meeting showed that labour had shifted from it’s earlier position and it is only left for the government to see sense in their demands.

“The impact of today’s meeting is that we have given them the fact they need to the extent that labour will not tolerate anything short of reasonable adjustment in the ongoing negotiation.

“The consequential adjustment is a matter of percentage, certainly when you say what you want; it depends on government to see sense in what you demand, as a matter of fact, labour has shifted and we believe we have done beyond the expectation.”

Organised labour, a week ago, issued a strike notice to the Federal Government, asking the Minister of Labour to re-convene the negotiating meeting and finalize on the issues of consequential salaries adjustment for workers who are in salaries grade level seven and above.

The unions are demanding for 29 percent salary increase for officers on grade seven to 14, and 24 percent for grade 15 to 17, but the FG is proposing 11 percent for officers on grade level 7 to 14, and 6.5 percent for officers on grade level 15 to 17.

There Cannot Be A Decent Work Without Wages – NLC

NLC Vice President, Benjamin Anthony, giving a speech at the 2019 World Decent Work Day celebration in Abuja.

 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed impatience at the implementation of the new N30,000 minimum wage, stressing that Nigeria’s workplace cannot be decent without a decent wage.

Speaking at the commemoration of the World Decent Work Day celebration in Abuja, Vice President of NLC, Benjamin Anthony called on all tiers of government to commence full implementation of the new wage before the end of October.

“There cannot be a decent work without a decent wage. The minimum wage is the floor for decent wages.

“We call on all tiers of government in Nigeria to commence full implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.

“Also, negotiations for the consequential salary adjustment must be concluded now so that all workers will have a reason to smile at the end of this October,” he added.”

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The labour leader also called for the immediate adoption of the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention.

“We also call for the immediate adoption of the historic convention 190 on gender-based violence by Nigeria and immediate necessary steps are taken for its domestication.

“Convention 190 recognises the rights of everyone within the wall of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence,” he stated.

NLC Set To Hold National Rally Over Insecurity

NLC, Strike, fuel price
FILE PHOTO of NLC members

 

Worried by the rising insecurity in the country the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has concluded plans to embark on a nationwide rally.

The rally according to the union is to sensitise governments and citizens on the need to urgently arrest the increased case of insecurity ranging from kidnapping, banditry, among others.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap CMD Of Irrua Specialist Hospital

This decision, which was disclosed in a communique on Monday, was part of the resolutions reached by the national executive committee of the NLC, during its recently concluded meeting in Kano State.

Labour leaders during the meeting highlighted the negative effects of the current security situation on the nation’s economy.

Also contained in the communique issued at the end of the meeting is the issue of the implementation of the new national minimum wage.

The union called on the Federal Government to immediately begin implementation of the new minimum wage for civil servants.

They insisted that the Federal and State governments must commence the payment of the new wage immediately, beginning from when the bill was signed into law by the president.

 

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.

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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.

Wife Of NLC Chairman, One Other Regain Freedom In Taraba

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The Wife of the NLC Chairman Taraba state chapter Mrs. Abigail Peter has regained her freedom after a few days in the enclaves of some unknown gunmen suspected to be kidnappers.

She was released within the late hours of Tuesday after being abducted at the early hours of June 13th 2019 by unknown gunmen who stormed her house shooting sporadically to scare neighbours.

Confirming her release to channels television, the NLC Chairman Mr. Peter Gambo said she was released in good health condition.

He, however, did not disclose if any ransom was paid for her release or not.

READ ALSO: Two Kidnapped, One Shot In Taraba

Similarly, one Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo, the Chief Executive Officer of ”Our Nations bakery” who is a neighbour to the NLC Chairman has also been released.

The two were kidnapped on the same day and released the same day with no disclosure by the family on whether any ransom was paid or not.

As at the time of filing in this report, all calls to the police public relations officer Mr David Misal to confirm their release and efforts made by the police to secure their freedom, proved abortive; as he neither picked his calls nor responded to messages.

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.

NLC Accuses Ngige Of Delay In Issuing Circular For Minimum Wage Implementation

 

Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) are accusing the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, of delaying in issuing the circular for the minimum wage implementation.

The union disclosed this on Monday while staging a peaceful protest outside the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.

They also accused the minister of using thugs against them when they protested at his residence last week.

The National President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba who led the protest said “the minimum wage has been put into law, we don’t need to beg anyone for implementation.

“We are not going to see anybody for implementation, the President passed the bill on the 18th of April and it takes effect from that day.

“Let it also be on notice, that will not give any further notice or deadline on when our alert will be seen in our accounts which must be made public by the Federal Government”.

Aside from the minimum wage, the labour movement is also seeking clarification on why mister Frank Kokori who was initially appointed as the chairman of National Social Insurance Trust Fund in 2017 was replaced.

NLC Vs Ngige: Presidency Breaks Silence On Rift Over NSITF

 

The Presidency has finally reacted to the disagreement between the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the appointment of the Chairman of the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

In its position made known through a spokesman, Femi Adesina, the presidency noted that NSITF is a hundred percent, Federal Government of Nigeria owned insurance parastatal, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, designed for the purpose of insuring workers (employees) in the public and private sectors.

According to the statement by Adesina on Sunday, the organization is empowered by law to implement the Employee Compensation Act (ECA) 2010 with a mandate to insure workers and pay them compensation for accidents, deaths, and injuries in the course of work.

Below is the full statement by the special aide to President Muhammadu Buhari.

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“NSITF CHAIRMANSHIP: FACTS OF THE MATTER, BY PRESIDENCY

Following the disagreement between the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the appointment of the Chairman of the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), the Presidency wishes to clarify as follows:

A. That the NSITF is a hundred percent, Federal Government of Nigeria owned insurance parastatal, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, designed for the role of insuring workers (employees) in the public and private sectors. The organization is empowered by law to implement the Employee Compensation Act (ECA) 2010 with mandate to insure workers and pay them compensation for accidents, deaths and injuries in the course of work.

B. The NSITF was bedevilled and riddled with corruption between 2012 – 2015, which resulted in a colossal loss and mismanagement of about N48 billion out of the total N62 billion contributions during the said period. These were contributions by the Employers – viz government and the private sector for payment of compensation to workers and even to Employers for loss of man-hours by their workers. This fraud has been investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the last Chairman and some members of the former board and some officials of the NSITF are presently being prosecuted by the EFCC.

C. All actions taken by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment towards the resuscitation and repositioning of this ailing agency, including the Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the affairs of NSITF and the suspension of the inauguration of the board in 2018 were part of the special work plan approved for the Honourable Minister by Mr. President.

D. The appointment of the Chairman of this board, which is in consonance with Sec. 4(a) of the NSITF Act CAP N88 of 2004 was also approved by Mr. President since 23rd July, 2018 on the recommendation of the Hon. Minister. Mr. Austin Enejamo-Isire, a Chartered Accountant, Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and renowned Insurance expert, Senior Member, Chartered Institute of Insurance of Nigeria (CIIN), Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) was approved by Mr. President for this position. Also approved by Mr. President were the Managing Director and three Executive Directors who had assumed duties since 18 April 2017.

Others also approved as Non-Executive Directors are two (2) members to represent the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), two members to represent the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and one (1) member each to represent the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. Members of this board are to be formally inaugurated at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 13, 2019 by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja.

E. Comrade Frank Kokori , our respected veteran labour leader has Mr. President’s immense respect and has also been appointed on the recommendation of the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment to chair the board of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), a diploma awarding labour institution.

Finally, the Presidency has noted with deep concern and regrets, the events that culminated in a skirmish at the private residence of the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, and condemns it, in its entirety. However, in the spirit of reconciliation, the Presidency appeals for calm from the NLC and the Ministry of Labour and Employment officials, as there are ongoing efforts to reconcile the NLC leadership with the Ministry of Labour and Employment, led by their Minister who has doggedly been fighting the cause of Nigerian workers whenever their issue is discussed by government, the latest being the enactment of the new National Minimum Wage Act 2019.”

‘My Family Members Are Traumatised,’ Ngige Laments Picketing Of His House By NLC

 

Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has narrated his experience and how picketing of his residence by members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) affected his family.

The Minister revealed this in an interview with journalists at the presidential villa in Abuja, on Thursday.

Ngige said the ‘blockage’ of the entrance of his Asokoro residence by the protesting labour members is an unlawful action because all occupants of his compound including his neighbours were hindered from going about their daily normal activities.

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“In my own home, my wife, some of my children, the children of my staff members, my cooks and my stewards were all trapped. My neighbour also couldn’t go to work. That is obstruction. It is against the law of the land.

“Putting a tanker with petrol… that is arson. The entire street could have been engulfed with fire.

“I was speechless. I am very distraught, my family is traumatised. All of the people in my compound are traumatised. Some of the cooks and policemen who have families, aides who have families in that compound are traumatised.

“Even my neighbour couldn’t go about their business. It is quite unfortunate,” he lamented.

Narrating his experience further, the Minister claimed that the protesters were at the entrance of his house as early as 4:30 am with petrol tankers.

He said further that the protesters were led by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba.

“I was woken up at 5:00 am by my wife who reported to me that my security men were having problems with some strange fellows at the gate of the house and that some people were also on the walls of my house and that the people arrived there by 4:30 am.

“When the security accosted them, they discovered that it was the NLC President himself that came physically.

“They came with two tankers. One laden with petrol and the other one was half empty. They put one at the gate of my house and the second one at the gate of the other house which happens to be that of my neighbour.

“It was very strange. I looked from upstairs and saw that the tankers were actually blocking the entrance to my house.

“They (his security men) even had a scuffle with the President of NLC when they were struggling for the key of the tanker.”

Ngige, however, condemned the action of the protesters, saying, “Picketing does not mean you go to people’s private residence because you don’t know who the occupants are.

“That is not Trade Unionism, it is hooligalism. In Trade Unionism, you dialogue.”

The Minister said his neighbours have vowed to take legal actions and added that ‘the obstruction’ is an illegal action punishable by the law.

Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress on Wednesday protested at the Asokoro residence of Ngige over his failure to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund with Frank Kokori as the chairman.

Ngige Describes Picketing Of His House By NLC As ‘Hooliganism’

 

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, has described the picketing of his house by some members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) as hooliganism.

He said this on Thursday while addressing journalists at the State House.

Members of the NLC had on Wednesday protested against the minister for his alleged failure to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund with Frank Kokori as the chairman.

But the protest took a new twist as workers were attacked by suspected thugs at the minister’s house in Asokoro.

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While the Labour accused the minister of hiring thugs to attack them, he has denied the reports.

He also added that members of his family and immediate neighbours have been traumatised by the action.

Those who were injured during the incident on Wednesday were immediately taken to the National Hospital in Abuja for treatment.