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Minimum wage: FG, Labour shift ground, negotiations continue Wednesday, strike unlikely

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The meeting between the organised labour and representatives of the Federal Government have been moved till Wednesday, Oct. 16, to allow for sorting out of all grey areas of contention.

A top Labour Official, who pleaded anonymity, hinted that the organised labour had shifted its earlier position from 29 per cent to 25 per cent for grade levels seven to 14, while for levels 15 to 17 now 20 per cent, which was earlier 24 per cent.

The Federal Government has made its earlier position to shift from levels seven to nine to 17 per cent and levels 10 to 14 at 15 per cent.

It also shifted that of levels 15 to 17 to 12 per cent.

The Nigeria News Agency recalls that the organised labour is demanding 29 per cent salary increase for officers on salary levels 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade levels 15 to 17 .

But the Federal Government had presented a proposal of 11 per cent salary increase for officers on grade levels 07 to 14 and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers of grade levels 15 to 17.

At a meeting in Abuja, the Head of Service, Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan, expressed hope that the meeting would get to a logical conclusion when it reconvenes on Wednesday.

“Today, the Labour side has discovered that there is just one side on the welfare of workers, we have worked very well together today.

“Both sides have made a lot of contentions, but we discovered that there are some grey areas that need to be ironed out.

“Some documents and information are being sourced that they are providing, by the grace of God tomorrow, discussion will continue and we believe that we will be able to get everything resolved.”

Speaking the end of the meeting, Deputy President of NLC, Comrade Amaechi Asugwuni, who spoke on behalf of the organised Labour, urged to the Federal Government to shift grounds for agitation ahead.

According to him, the matter is a straight forward matter, negotiations is ongoing we actually thought the meeting will be concluded today but that prediction was not successful, therefore, adjournment became necessary.

” To the best of our knowledge, the struggle will still continue, tommorow, we will meet by 2p.m, and that meeting will determine the fate of the parties, we expect that we close that meeting positively.

“So far, commitment has been shown, but we believe that the areas that are still in contest are critical, therefore, we urge the government also on their part see how they can shift ground positively to integrate the agitations ahead.”

Those at the meeting include: the NLC General Secretary, Comrade Emma Ugboaja, Musa Lawal Ozigi of the TUC, Nuhu Toro (TUC) Lawal Alade Bashir as well as Comrade Musa Abbas while in attendance  at the meeting with the Joint National.

Others are: Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, Acting Chairman of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta.

Labour had resorted to the strike option, from Oct. 17, following an apparent inability of the government and labour to find a way out of the minimum wage logjam.

The minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said there is the need for organised labour to set the records straight to workers to understand that current economic realities may not accommodate percentage increase on the minimum wage.

According to him, continued threat of strike action from the organised labour was an intimidation of government and antithetical to the International Labour Organisation principles on negotiations and Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“I will also not seat and watch labour intimidate government. If you dangle strike, it is intimidation and ILO Convention does not permit it.

“People should negotiate freely. If government threatens you in the course of negotiation, it is intimidation.

“We cannot allow government to shut down the economy because it wants to pay salaries and wages.

“The 2020 budget of N10.3trillion has N3.8trillion as personnel cost without overhead.

“If you add running cost and other incidental costs, the total recurrent budget as presented to the National Assembly has taken 76 per cent. Where do we get the money to build roads, airport, rails, health centres, schools etc.

“It is a matter of balancing a budget that is 76 per cent recurrent and 24 per cent capital, for me, it is nothing to cheer about.

“In the 76 per cent, government has captured N200 billion for consequential adjustment for the minimum wage and so on. These are all part of personnel.

“N160 billion is for consequential adjustment of the minimum wage and not total package of workers’ salaries. Everybody has to make sacrifice. We must plug leakages.”

He stressed the need for all workers to be incorporated into the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) to reduce ghost workers in the public service.

According to him, the ghost workers should go and we should know who the real workers are. As of today, we have 1.3 million persons in the federal civil service and maybe it will be more by the time we finish bringing everybody to IPPIS.

“The number of workers, 1.4 million or 1.5 million out of 200 million people take 33 per cent of the budget which has deficit. It is important we know this. It is up to us to use all the money to pay salaries and the economy will grind to a halt and be like Venezuela.”

It will be recalled that the United Labour Congress (ULC), pulled out of the planned nationwide strike scheduled to commence on Wednesday over the non-implementation of the new minimum wage by the governments.

The ULC president, Mr Joe Ajaero, stated that the group will not be part of an exercise designed to hoodwink Nigerian workers and masses into believing that their interests are being championed.

“Unfortunately, this strike will not have the desired impact and would not achieve the intentions Nigerian workers would want as it is seemingly; dead on arrival as programmed by the hidden interests pushing the agenda.

“ULC will not therefore be part of an exercise designed to hoodwink Nigerian workers and masses into believing that their interests were being championed while the contrary may be the case.

“We will neither be part of this ruse nor partake in a complete jamboree that makes a mockery of the genuine struggle by Nigerian workers to begin to enjoy the new national minimum wage.

“Once again, we want to state that we will not be part of this attempt to whittle down the capacity of Nigerian workers and masses to earn the new minimum wage.

“It is a planned sabotage of our collective will and desire to see a new minimum wage and we shall not be part of it,” Ajaero said. (NAN)

TAK/AFA

Edited by Felix Ajide

 

Foreign

Spanish gov’t approves minimum income to fight extreme poverty

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The Spanish government on Friday confirmed that it has approved a guaranteed minimum income aimed at dealing with extreme poverty and the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis on the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

The measure, assuring a guaranteed income of between 462 euros and 1,050 euros (514 U.S. dollars to 1,170 U.S. dollars) a month for people at risk of poverty, will cost the country around 3,000 million euros a year and was approved at Friday’s cabinet meeting.

Individuals will receive 462 euros a month and an extra 139 euros a month for each additional dependent.

The government calculates the minimum income will reach over 800,000 of Spain‘s poorest households and help around 2.3 million people in the coming months.

“This is a historic day for our democracy. Today we see a major step forward in social rights,” said Pablo Iglesias, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Rights.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez posted on social media that the minimum income was “a policy to guarantee the income for those who are suffering the most, to combat poverty and to help the economic recovery of our country.”

“We have spent years defending the need of a guaranteed minimum income which acts as a safety net for the most vulnerable and a net which is more urgent than ever in the crisis we are going through,” he said.

“The recovery after COVID-19 won’t be fair if it fails to reach everyone. Nobody will be left behind,” wrote Sanchez.

The income will be available to anyone aged between 23-65 years of age, who has lived independently for three years, made social security payments for a year and is currently registered as looking for employment. (1 euro = 1.11 U.S. dollars)

(XINHUA)

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Workers’ Day: Oyo NUJ lauds FG, states on minimum wage

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The Oyo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Friday commended the Federal Government as well as state governments for implementing the new minimum wage.

The council’s Chairman, Alhaji Ademola Babalola, gave the commendation in a statement issued in Ibadan on the occasion of the International Workers’ Day celebration.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigerian workers had adopted virtual celebration  as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A year ago, we clamoured for the implementation of new minimum wage and same has been approved for Nigerian workers.

” Kudos to both the federal and state governments,” Babalola said.

The NUJ chairman, however, lamented the meagre salaries being paid to members working in private media establishments.

He added that the salaries of some of these journalists had been slashed by at least 50 percent since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While colleagues in the government-owned media establishments are savouring the little increase in their monthly pay, many of us in the private establishments continue to groan in silence.

“Their meagre salaries have either been slashed by atleast 50 percent since the outbreak of the pandemic about two months ago in Nigeria, or not paid at all for several months by our employers,” he said.

He urged members of the union to think out of the box and embrace other vocations such as agribusiness for survival.

The NUJ chairman said that the union was already in talks to secure CBN soft loans for members to enable them engage in businesses of their choice in order to augment their salaries.

Babalola rejoiced with workers on the celebration, urging them to mark the occasion with their families and keep safe at all times.

“It is a day of mixed feelings devoid of fun and usual hilarious get-together because of the pandemic.

“May God keep and grant us the grace to celebrate many more lofty years ahead,” he said.

(
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Why senior civil servants in Ekiti are yet to get minimum wage-Fayemi

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salary and all allowances due to our health workers who are at the frontline of the COVID-19 response have been paid.

“We have continued to pay the N30,000 minimum wage for junior cadre in the public service and have reinstated merit-based appointments to elevate the standards of the public service.

“Official vehicles have been allocated to serving and some retired permanent secretaries, while we have increased our investment in training and capacity building for the public service.

“Also, it is on record that all outstanding promotions as at December 2019 have been addressed across the public service,’’ Fayemi said.

According to the governor, work is also progressing steadily on the abandoned structures at the state secretariat complex to ease the challenge of inadequate office accommodation for workers.

He added that housing and car loans were being granted to workers.

Fayemi urged the labour movement to not only enquire after what workers ccould get from the government, but also what they could contribute to support government in making a difference in the lives of the people.

“No doubt, there will always be agitations and struggles. However, these must be focused on realistic goals, noting that government must balance several competing interests,” he said.

On the new policy of six months maternity leave for women in the public service which took effect from Feb. 1, Fayemi explained that the initiative was aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality rate.

He said that it would also facilitate work-life balance for female workers in the state.

“All of these are geared toward making life and working more comfortable for Ekiti workers,” he said.

While thanking workers for their efforts so far, the governor urged them to do more, especially in the area of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

“All hands must be on deck to boost our IGR to stabilise and free Ekiti State from incessant economic shackles.

“Whatever we do, we must place the interest of Ekiti State above our personal interest,” he said.

Fayemi added that he had accepted the list submitted by the leadership of organised labour with details of those the unions had identified as the most vulnerable members of the various unions.

According to the governor, money has been approved for the vulnerable members made of those who are sick, those involved in serious accidents and those who have become widows and widowers since Jan. 1.

Fayemi said the money was a little contribution of government in commemoration of this year’s May Day.

(
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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May Day: NLC demands implementation of N30,000 minimum wage in Kwara

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has  appealed to the  Kwara Government to ensure immediate and full implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage to its workers.

The union said the implementation must be done in the face of economic hardship as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in the state.

The congress made the appeal in a statement issued by its Kwara Chapter Chairman, Alhaji Issa Ore, to commemorate the 2020 May Day celebration on Friday in Ilorin.

The union also sought the implementation of the new wage alongside other demands pending before the state government.

“In the face of the hardship which Nigerians are currently going through as a result of the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 and its effects on the economy, we want to appeal to the state government to ensure the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage for workers,” Ore said.

The NLC leader, however, charged workers in the state to abide by all precautionary measures listed by experts and government to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

In compliance with the measures to contain the spread, Ore said the state chapter had decided to observe this year’s May Day celebration in a low key.

He urged all workers to stay at home in addition to observing physical and social distancing.

The union leader saluted the perseverance of workers, market women, artisans, transporters, pensioners and the general public on the economic hardship imposed on them by the effects of the COVID– 19 pandemic.

He however commended the the state government for being proactive in rolling out measures to contain the spread of the disease, which he noted had slowed down the spread of the virus in the state.

He also expressed the congress’ delight that the state had commenced distribution of palliatives to the poorest of the poor, urging the government to monitor its distribution.

The labour leader urged employers of labour at all levels to provide hand sanitisers and face masks to workers to contain the spread of the disease.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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COVID-19: Gombe Govt. suspends N30,000 minimum wage, slashes political appointees salaries

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The Gombe State Government has suspended payment of the N30,000 minimum wage following dwindling finances due to the effect of coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

Mr Manassah Jatau, the state Deputy Governor, said at a press briefing on Saturday in Gombe, that the decision was taken after consultation with the standing committee on minimum wage and relevant stakeholders.

According to him, the new minimum wage suspension is with effect from March 2020.

“The minimum wage increment and its consequential adjustments adopted by the state has been suspended until when the economy of the state improves.

“The Ministry of Finance is to review the 2020 budget to reflect the reduction in the price of oil in the international market and subsequent adoption of 30 dollars per barrel benchmark by the Federal Government.

“In view of the above, all salaries of political office holders and Permanent Secretaries will be reviewed accordingly as a sacrifice to the state”, the deputy governor said.

He said that the state revenue service would be strengthened to perform better with a view to reducing the state’s over reliance on Federal allocations.

Jatau added that the government would announce new austerity measures to further reduce financial leakage and enhance savings for execution of necessary capital projects.

Mr Mohammed Musa, the state Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called on civil servants to remain calm and appreciate the current situation the state government had found itself.

“At the last federation allocation, Gombe State lost N800 million from its allocation due to the dwindling oil price at the international market,’’ he said.

The NLC chairman assured workers that the suspension is temporary, as full implementation of the minimum wage and payment of all arrears will commence when the state’s financial situation improves.

Edited By: Francisca Oluyole/Maharazu Ahmed
(NAN)

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Kebbi NLC renews demand for implementation of new minimum wage

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kebbi State has renewed its demand for the implementation of the new minimum wage by the State Government.

The state Chairman of NLC, Malam Umar Alhassan, made the appeal in a telephone interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Birinin Kebbi.

Alhassan said the delay ir non-implementation of the minimum wage was causing agitation and low productivity by workers in the state.

He however assured members that his leadership was posed to bring progress to the civil service and development of the state, as against being a robber stamp to any government.

According to him, the union is maintaining the status quo going by the agreement reached with the state government, adding that breach or failure from government will force the union to embark on strike.

“We still have to write a reminder to the Head of Service that the government failed to honour their agreement by promising to pay the leave grant to junior staff and bring out a salary table for new minimum wage,” the labour leader said.

Meanwhile, Malam Isa Umar, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), has exonerated the national leadership of the union over Kebbi state government for failure to implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage.

It could be recalled that there were speculations accusing the NUT National President, Malam Nasiru Idris, as being responsible for the failure of Kebbi State Government to implement the minimum wage as well as payment of 2019 annual leave grants.

Umar told NAN in Birnin Kebbi that their national president has no knowledge about the negotiations between the state government and the NLC.

The chairman therefore appealed to the general public, especially the state civil servants, to disregard the rumour, describing it as a “blatant lie and a mere attempt to tarnish the image of the national president”.

“However, it is pertinent to state that the national president is not even in the country,;he has travelled to UK for official assignment and has no hand in the issue.

“You see, he told the State NLC Chairman that nobody should mention his name in any matter involving Kebbi State Government and people should not drag him into the state government affairs.

“Nasiru did not know anything about the matter, the negotiations is purely for the NLC and they should face their responsibility without dragging our president into the matter,” he said.

Umar also advised the people of the state to always verify any piece of information before they spreading it or risk fake news sanctions.

He said dialogue and amicable resolution of issues remained the best option in resolving industrial disharmony.

Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
(NAN)

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Economy

Minimum Wage: Kwara TUC Chairman suggests way of implementation by LGs

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The Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Kwara, Mr Nasiru Kola-Olumoh, has suggested that revenue collectors employed by the 16 local government councils in the state be allowed to collect revenue on behalf of their councils.

Nasiru-Olumoh made the suggestion during an interview with the News Agency’ of Nigeria on how the Kwara Government can implement the N30,000 minimum wage to all civil servants in the state.

According to the TUC chairman, the collection of revenue by local councils revenue officers would enable the councils ascertain accurate fund needed monthly for the full implementation of the minimum wage for workers.

He described as anomalous a situation where revenue for local councils are being handled by the state internal revenue service.

Nasir-Olumoh expressed optimism that all the 16 local government councils would have the ability of paying the new minimum wage, if they have financial autonomy.

He therefore advised the 16 local government councils in the state to cut all unnecessary expenses and sharp practices by revenue collectors in order to meet the implementation of the new wage.

“The local government revenue collectors must be proactive in revenue collection to meet the implementation of the new wage,” he said.

NAN reports that the state government was yet to commence the implementation of the new minimum wage as a result of fear that the local councils might be incapacitated to pay.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
(NAN)

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Kwara LGs may not be able to pay new minimum wage-Abdulrazaq

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Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara says  the 16 local government councils in the state may not be able to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.

The governor made this known on Friday in Ilorin at a meeting he held with labour leaders on the minimum wage.

A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, quoted Abdulrazaq as saying that he was hesitant to sign the minimum wage deal with labour leaders based on the table that the negotiation panel had proposed.

Abdulrazaq told the labour leaders that he was ready to sign the package if he would not be held responsible for the inability of local governments to pay the minimum wage.

The governor observed that the councils were at present struggling to pay the N18, 000 minimum wage and even had to draw from their savings and IGR before paying February salary.

He said he did not want a situation whereby local governments would be paying 40 percent of workers’ salary as a result of paucity of fund.

“Now moving forward with the new minimum wage, we do not want a repeat of that situation; we want everybody to get their salaries as and when due.

“We found out that the local governments cannot pay the scale which we are looking at and ready to sign.

“The understanding is that the state and local government must pay on the same template/scale.

“If it is about going ahead and signing what is popular, I can sign today. But it is a choice between signing or doing what is popular and what is right or practicable.

“I can sign a popular deal today with the unions, but by January next year, the local governments would be owing their staff close to N8 billion.

“Then that is when the major strike will come in. This is something I really do not want.

“We therefore need to mitigate the situation and find a lasting solution to what we are doing.

“For example, the local governments struggled to pay the salary for January and February,” the governor said.

Abdulrazaq, however, said that since he became governor, money meant for the 16 local governments had been released to them in full.

“Since we came on board, this administration has not touched a kobo of the local government allocation.

“This is something all of you can testify to. I stand by this. We have allowed LGs to have control of their money,” he said.

“And since we came in that is what has been happening. Nobody has touched local governments’ monies.

“We didn’t give it to them and went back to take the money away from them.

“So they have their money to spend and they have been making savings and the savings simply came from the fact that the DPMs have a spending limit.

“So it is with these savings and their IGR that they were able to augment the shortfall in their salaries in January and February.

“The salary we are talking about is the N18, 000 minimum wage. So if they are struggling to pay N18, 000 minimum wage, how do they pay N30, 000 minimum wage?

“That is a big challenge to us. The other big challenge is that we can see the way the global economy is. Our budget had been predicated on $57 per barrel but oil is now below $35 per barrel,” he said.

Kolawole Olumo, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress in the state, appealed to the governor to sign the deal, assuring him that nobody would hold him responsible if local councils could not pay the N30, 000.

According to him, the governor should leave the local government authorities to draw up the modalities to pay the minimum wage.

“Whatever is payable at the local government will be it in as much as the autonomy is there and it is our money, we will accept it.

“It has been done before. Nobody is going to blame you for anything. Nobody is going to put the arrears on your head. Nobody is going to tell you that you are indebted to us for this.

“Right in this hall, Your Excellency, workers of local governments are telling you to let us sign this deal,” Oluomo said.

According to Oluomo, local councils would be able to pay if proper staff auditing was done and the unions were involved in the exercise.

The Chairman of the Joint Negotiation Council and NULGE President, Yusuf Salihu, expressed support for the TUC chairman’s submission.

He urged the governor to sign the deal, saying thorough screening would be done to remove ghost workers from the payroll.

(
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

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Politics

Bill to set HND as minimum qualification for President, Governor, scales second reading

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The bill seeking to peg minimum educational qualification for persons seeking to occupy the office of President of Nigeria and state governors scales second reading at the senate.

Also, the bill seeks to make the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) the minimum qualification for those seeking positions at the National and state Assemblies.

The bill is being sponsored by Sen. Istifanus Huang, (PDP, Plateau).

The bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the amendment of Sections 65 (2) (a), 131 (d), Section 106 (c) and Section 177 (d) on minimum educational qualification for those seeking such elections.

The bill is entitled, “The Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (in this Bill referred to as “the Principal Act”) is altered as set out in the Bill,”

It reads in part: “the bill is seeking the alteration of section 65 (2) (a) of the Constitution which deals with the qualifications for intending members of the National Assembly”.

The extant law which the bill seeks to amend reads: “A person shall be qualified for election under subsection (1) of this section if he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

Section 65 (2) (a) is now rephrased to read “if he has been educated to at least National Diploma level or its equivalent.”

The bill also seeks to alter Section 131 (d) which states that a presidential candidate and the deputy must have “been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”

The amendment is now rephrased to read: “He has been educated up to at least HND level or’ its equivalent.”

For House of Assembly, the bill seeks the alteration of section 106 (c) of the Constitution.

According to the existing law, anyone aspiring to be a member of the House of Assembly must have “been educated up to at least the School Certificate level or its equivalent.”

It is however, now rephrased to read: “If he has been educated up to National Diploma level or its equivalent.”

For governorship candidates, the bill seeks the alteration of section 177 (d) of the Constitution which currently states that the person must have “been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”

It is now rephrased to read: “If he has been educated up to at least Higher National Diploma Level or its equivalent.”

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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