May Day: Workers ask for improve social amenities, wage implementation
Lagos, April 29, 2019 Nigerian workers on Monday advised the Federal and State Governments to provide amenities that would make life better for citizens as they ensure implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.
The workers spoke on their expectations ahead of 2019 May Day celebration which characterised the struggles of workers around the world since May 1, 1904.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on April 18, signed the N30, 000 national minimum wage bill for workers into law.
Mr Isaac Aruehi, a senior civil servant told NNN that workers both at the federal and state government levels should ensure implementation of the new minimum wage.
Aruehi said that all levels of government should realise that “the welfare of the people are the reasons why government exists’’.
”The purpose of governance is to provide adequate security for lives and property as well as ensure opportunities for job creation.
”The government must take steps to ensure that it provides decent and cheap houses, water, constant electricity, quality education, good road networks and affordable medical care,” he said.
Aruehi said that public office should not be an avenue to loot funds, treasury or divert money into private account because the consequences would be for some people to be involve in crime.
Also, Prince Williams Akporeha, President, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), advised the government to focus on how to deepen good governance and restrain from fiscal wastages.
According to Akporeha, there is no state in the country that does not have the capacity to conveniently implement the N30, 000 Minimum Wage.
He called on public and private employers of labour to ensure that the newly approved wage was implemented without delay.
Mr Olorunfemi Ayola, a food and beverage worker, also hailed the President for signing the bill but advised against collecting it through VAT increase.
Ayola said that any increase in tax would destroy the little benefit supposed to be received from the new minimum wage.
He urged the President to ensure that the populace received soft landing in financial related issues for them to reap the benefits of the administration.
Recall that the three labour groups met on Dec. 20, 2018 and gave government an ultimatum of Dec. 31 to forward the tripartite committee report on N30, 000 minimum wages to the National Assembly.
The organised labour on Jan. 8, held a nationwide sensitisation protest as government failed to submit the report on the expected date.
Government met with labour again on Jan. 9 and agreed that the technical committees report would be handed to the law makers on Jan. 23.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Jan. 9 inaugurated a technical committee to help find ways of implementing the agreed new wages without disrupting the nation’s development plans.
On Jan. 29, the House of Representatives approved N30, 000 well above the N27, 000 sent to it by President Buhari as the new minimum wage.
Nigeria last reviewed its minimum wage in 2011, when former President Goodluck Jonathan reviewed the pay from N7, 500 to N18, 000.
UK new car sales collapse in May as lockdown continues to impact market
New car registration in Britain plunged by 89 percent in May compared with the same month a year earlier, as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions continued to impact the market, according to a report released Thursday.
Some 20,247 cars were registered in May, even though “click and collect” services were introduced from mid-month in a bid to inject some momentum into the market, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in the report.
Data showed that apart from battery electric vehicles, all segments and fuel types saw severe declines, with the sales of diesel and petrol vehicles in the month plummeting by 93 percent and 90.5 percent respectively over the same month last year.
The figures came as car showrooms in England have been allowed to re-open since the beginning of June following more than two months of shutdown. Car showrooms remain closed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland until next week.
“After a second month of shutdown and the inevitable yet devastating impact on the market, this week’s re-opening of dealerships is a pivotal moment for the entire industry and the thousands of people whose jobs depend on it,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.
“Customers keen to trade up into the latest, cutting-edge new cars are now able to return to showrooms and early reports suggest there is good business given the circumstances, although it is far too early to tell how demand will pan out over the coming weeks and months,” said Hawes.
Hawes added that restarting the market is a crucial “first step” in driving the recovery of the country’s critical car manufacturers and supply chain, and supporting the wider economy.
“Ensuring people have the confidence to invest in the latest vehicles will not only help them get on the move safely, but these new models will also help address some of the environmental challenges the UK faces in the long term,” he said.
UK car sales almost 90% below normal in May – SMMT
British car sales edged up in May after falling to their lowest since 1946 in April but still remained almost 90 per cent below their level a year earlier as coronavirus restrictions limited sales.
Preliminary figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on Thursday showed that around 20,000 new cars were registered last month, up from just 4,321 in April but just a fraction of the 183,724 sold in May 2019.
Thursday’s data fit with other figures showing that the sharpest decline in British economic activity occurred in April, just after the lockdown came into force.
Since then, some rules have been relaxed and other businesses have been able to find ways to comply with them and restart operations.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Ireland’s jobless rate in May slightly down to 26.1 pct
Ireland’s jobless rate in May went down slightly to 26.1 percent from the previous month’s figure of 28.2 percent, said the country’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Wednesday.
But the seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for May, if based on standard methodology, stood at 5.6 percent, up from 5.4 percent in April, according to the CSO.
On March 16, the Irish government initiated a scheme called COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, under which people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic can get paid by the government at a weekly rate of 350 euros (about 393 United States dollars) for 12 weeks.
The scheme has created a huge burden on the government.
At the peak time, nearly 600,000 people in Ireland were in the receipt of the payment, according to the Irish Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said on Wednesday that the government’s overall deficit in May jumped to 6.143 billion euros from 63 million euros in the same month of last year.
Earlier last month, Donohoe predicted that the fiscal deficit for this year will increase to more than 23 billion euros, which will account for about 7.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In recent days, he revised up the figure to 30 billion euros.
The finance minister has repeatedly hinted that such a situation is not sustainable and the government may make adjustments to the scheme while pledging to extend it beyond 12 weeks if needed. (1 euro = 1.12 U.S. dollars)
Slovenia’s registered jobless up by 2 pct in May
The registered jobless in Slovenia was up by 2 percent on a monthly basis to 90,415 in May, the Employment Service of Slovenia reported on Wednesday.
But the trend slowed down as the country started the normalization process with the coronavirus restrictions easing.
Among the unemployed, those who saw their fixed-term contracts expire represented the largest number (3,915), followed by permanently redundant workers (2,585) and first job-seekers (389).
Commenting the figures, the Ministry of Labour said that they were somewhat more encouraging and inspired optimism, but added that “we should remain objective despite the positive trend,” according to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).
The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy has announced a financial support program worth 4.6 million euros (about 5.2 million U.S. dollars) for workers laid off during the epidemic.
As part of the program, which is fully covered by the European Social Fund and implemented by the Employment Service, temporary compensation, career consultancy and inclusion in the existing active employment policies will be provided for around 2,500 unemployed people.
Rivers may demolish markets for flouting COVID-19 directives, says Commissioner
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, gave the warning in a statement issued in Port Harcourt.
He lamented that traders had continued to flout government’s directives that markets should be shut, due to rising cases of the coronavirus in the state.
Nsirim said that five markets in the state might be shut down permanently for flouting the directives. He did not elaborate.
“Any attempt to continue trading activities at Mbiama Market will lead to complete demolition of the market.
“Government has not approved any goat market at the Eleme/Ahoada stretch of the East-West road in the state.”
Nsirim directed authorities of Emohua and Ahoada-East Councils to shut down the goat market in the area immediately.
German jobless rate climbs to 6.1 pct in May
The unemployment rate in Germany increased “strongly” in May by 0.3 percentage point to 6.1 percent compared to the previous month as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the country’s Federal Employment Agency (BA) said on Wednesday.
Scheele stressed that the BA‘s financial reserves of 26 billion euros (29.2 billion U.S. dollars) would probably not be enough to shoulder the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on Germany’s labor market.
According to BA, more than 10 million people in Germany were registered for short-time work in March and April. Preliminary BA figures showed that around two million employees received short-time work compensation in March.
“The use of short-time work in March was thus already well above the figures at the time of the 2008-2009 Great Recession,” the BA noted. The record before the coronavirus crisis was in May 2009, when 1.44 million people were on short-time work during the financial crisis.
S.Korea’s foreign reserves rise to 407.3 bln USD in May
Foreign reserves amounted to 407.3 billion U.S. dollars as of the end of May, up 3.33 billion dollars from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). It increased by 3.77 billion dollars in April.
The expansion came as the dollar weakness lifted the conversion value of non-dollar assets.
The country’s foreign reserves were composed of 365.71 billion dollars of securities, 30.01 billion dollars of deposits, 4.79 billion dollars of gold bullion, 2.8 billion dollars of special drawing rights (SDR) and 3.99 billion dollars of IMF positions.
Los Angeles mayor takes knee in solidarity with protesters
“A black face should not be a sentence to die, nor to be homeless, nor to be sick, nor to be under-employed, nor to be under-educated,” the mayor was quoted by local news outlet City News Service as telling the protesters.
“We need a country that listens,” Garcetti noted.
The protests over Floyd’s death went into the seventh straight day on Tuesday in the Los Angeles area. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hollywood Tuesday afternoon in the largest demonstration of the day in the area and many remained on the streets even after a countywide curfew took effect in the evening.
Authorities in Los Angeles had taken approximately 2,500 people into custody between Friday and Tuesday morning after a mix of peaceful protests and property destruction rocked the city, reported the Los Angeles Times, citing Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore.
Although police clashed frequently with protesters after demonstration turned violent during days of civil unrest across the United States, some police officers were pictured taking a knee alongside protesters to honor the memory of Floyd.
UK house prices see largest monthly fall in May since 2009: survey
Britain’s average house price saw the largest monthly fall in May 2020 since February 2009, as lockdown restriction impacted heavily on housing market amid the COVID-19 pandemic, mortgage lender the Nationwide Building Society said Tuesday.
The average house price across Britain in May was 218,902 pounds (about 275,016 U.S. dollars), dropping by 1.7 percent compared with the same month a year earlier, said the Nationwide in its House Price Indices.
“Housing market activity has slowed sharply as a result of the measures implemented to control the spread of the virus,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide‘s chief economist.
Meanwhile, the annual rate of house price growth in May slid to 1.8 percent, down from 3.7 percent in April.
“Behavioural changes and social distancing are likely to impact the flow of housing transactions for some time,” said the mortgage lender in its report, adding that “most viewed the current situation as a temporary pause in the market, with would-be buyers now planning to wait six months on average before looking to enter the market.”
At the same time, the number of mortgage approvals for house purchase plummeted to around 15,800 in April 2020, with nearly 80 percent below the February level, hitting the lowest since the series began in 1993, said a report issued by the Bank of England Tuesday.
“Weakness in the housing market associated with COVID-19 was reflected in weak mortgage market activity in April,” said the contral bank.
“Low transaction levels may still make gauging price trends difficult in the coming months — especially for regional indices, which by their nature have lower sample sizes,” said Gardner.
According to the Nationwide, the medium-term outlook for the housing market remains “highly uncertain” and will highly depend on the performance of the wider economy.
“However, the raft of policies adopted to support the economy, including to protect businesses and jobs, to support peoples’ incomes and keep borrowing costs down, should set the stage for a rebound once the shock passes, and help limit long-term damage to the economy,” said the Nationwide.
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