The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged Muslims and all Nigerians to fully imbibe the virtues of Eid-el-fitri.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President said this in a statement on Friday to mark the 2020 Eid-el-fitri celebration.
According to Wabba, the Nigeria Labour Congress joins millions of our compatriots of the Muslim ummah to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-fitri.
“We congratulate all Muslim workers and indeed the Nigerian Muslims community for successfully concluding the observance of the holy month of Ramadan.
“The restrictions and inconveniences imposed by the novel coronavirus has made the observation of this year’s Ramadan far more tasking and indeed more spiritually rewarding for all Muslims.
“Your perseverance through the fasting period is a shining embodiment of the spirit of Eid.
“Eid-el-fitri is a very significant event in the life of every Muslim, chiefly because of the virtues it exemplifies.
“Eid-el-fitri teaches dedication, discipline, diligence, love and sharing. It is also a time of stock taking as Muslims use the period of the Ramadan fasting to take an objective assessment of their areas of strength and weakness,” he said.
The NLC president noted that strengths were consolidated while the weaknesses were strengthened.
Wabba, therefore, said that the Eid-el-fitri reinforced the lessons of COVID-19.
According to him, the need to love and to share has never been as profoundly communicated as during the current global fight against Coronavirus.
He added that there was no better time to share with those who did not have especially the destitute in our midst.
“This year’s Eid-el-fitri also echoes the message of hope which inspires all of us that though the night of COVID-19 might be long but the rays of the dawn of Allah’s benevolent mercies will soon arrive to compensate for all the current troubles.
“We can only keep faith alive, while we urge every Nigerian Muslim and all citizens to fully imbibe the virtues of Eid-el-fitri, ” he said.
Wabba said that Nigerian workers had demonstrated a strong affinity to the values of Eid-el-fitri by soldiering-on in self-denial, dedication, and diligence as frontline workers against COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said that government at all levels and employers could make workers’ load lighter by ensuring the security of jobs, income and livelihood.
“The Ramadan Holiday is not the time to arbitrarily cut down the salaries of workers or deny workers’ their means of livelihood.
He said that the leadership of Congress appreciated all Muslims for praying for Nigeria during the Ramadan, especially in the face of the deadly novel coronavirus disease.
He added that, as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 cauldron, we urge all Nigerians to intensify prayers for national peace and safety.
“We all must also renew our commitment to contributing our quota to ensure a stable, inclusive and resilient Nigerian society.
“It is our prayer that by next year’s Eid, the troubles of the current pandemic would have paled into history, in sha Allah (SWT). Once again, we extend our best wishes for a most rewarding Eid-el-fitri.
“May Allah’s blessings be multiplied on us and may our supplications and other prayers during this holy month of Ramadan bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and all over the world,” he said.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
NLC decries incessant harassment of healthcare workers by security agents
The state Chairman, Mrs Agnes Sessi, expressed the concern at the inauguration of the union’s Labour-Civil Society Situation Room Committee on Thursday in Lagos.
Sessi appealed the government to urgently address the issue.
“We call on the government to urgently address this issue and to caution this overzealous security men.
“This is to avoid unnecessary crisis at this critical time when the whole world is fighting a common enemy; we should be seen to be working on the same per,” she said.
While commending the government’s efforts in putting in place palliatives, she said efforts were not enough compared to the realities on ground.
“We call on the government to improve on all the indices that will cushion the effect of the pandemic and improve on the welfare of all people of Lagos,” she said.
Sessi said earlier that the aim of setting up the committee was to closely monitor the effect of the pandemic with a view to offering appropriate advice to relevant authorities.
According to her, activities of the committee will focus on sensitisation of workers and citizens on the reality, prevalence, prevention and containment measures against the virus among others.
“Also, proper and fair advice will be continuously offered based on verified information sourced from different sectors of the state by this committee,” she said.
Sessi said that setting up of the committee was to ensure the promotion and prevention of loss of jobs.
According to her, the committee will intervene on matters arising from the fallout of the pandemic to ensure there are no job losses and no reduction or cut in workers salaries.
“As it is, we forsee a situation where some factories and workplaces will experience closure and reduction in working hours.
“In fact, some companies have leveraged on the current situation to violate the workers’ rights.
“In all of this, Lagos State workers demand jobs and wage protection; to make this possible, factories and businesses will require stimulus, financial aids and other micro economic support.
“We want both the Federal and State Governments, and international bodies to come to the aid of not only multinational companies, but also to employers of labour,” she said.
In his remarks, the Publicity Secretary, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr Moruf Abdusalam, said that COVID-19 was a multisectoral problem that would need to be tackled by all sectors and facets of the society.
“The committee is a welcome development so that we can be a think tank for policies that the government will make.
“We cannot leave it to the government alone; professionals have to continue to advice government, both in our personal and collective capacities.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the committee comprises NLC, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, NMA, Joint Health Sector Union, two representatives of civil society, among others.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Maritime industry can create more jobs in post-COVID-19 era – ANLCA
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on Wednesday, said the maritime industry could create more jobs if well harnessed.
The National President of the association, Mr Tony Nwabunike, said that there should not be any fear of job loss in the maritime industry.
According to him, we have watched the shocking and ongoing devastating impact of the coronavirus disease on various sectors of the economy leading to massive job losses and general quake in the global economy.
Nwabunike noted that though not completely insulated from effects of the pandemic, the Nigerian maritime industry held potential to serve as the country’s low hanging fruits for economic growth, stability and survival
He said that unlike the aviation industry where government agencies including airlines were either mulling salary slash, workers lay-off, shrinking human capital needs, the maritime industry still held the ace as an indispensable mode of global trade and commerce
“Rather than worry over likelihood of job loss, customs brokers, freight forwarders, truck owners, chandlers and other ancillary service providers in the industry should gravitate toward keeping themselves abreast with virtual presence and operations in the ports.
“At ANLCA, we have always advocated for a modern port regime with lesser amount of persons coming into port areas.
“This will now be a fast track drive because persons and businesses can meet virtually, submit, process and receive documents online without leaving the comfort of our homes and offices.
“While the port cannot be virtual, our presence can be. We have been partaking in Webinars where we communicate effectively, take business and corporate decisions without travelling.
“The haulage section will always be there; it cannot be taken over virtually. We only foresee a regime of improved rail services,” he said in a statement.
He pointed out that for exports, Nigeria as a matter of urgency must develop non-oil exports to keep jobs up, saying that much more was needed to be done in the agricultural sector.
Nwabunike said that as a country, we should identify products for which we had comparative advantage, as Nigerian-made electric cables had been noted for being of higher quality than most imported ones. Government should be the number one buyer.
He called for urgent steps to be taken to refine crude oil locally and stop the importation of refined petroleum products.
“That we have cotton but still depend on other countries to produce our clothing needs is a result of a fall in the local textile industry.
“The industry is dying partly due to lack of power as it was discovered that it was cheaper to manufacture textiles outside Nigeria than doing it in the country.
“Our textile industry alone can produce jobs running into millions for 200 million people and exporting to other countries. Rice self-sufficiency is still a struggle even after its removal from Foreign Exchange and ban from importation through land borders.
“Whereas the railway is government-owned. There is need to allow private investment in ownership of coaches to move cargoes from dry ports to the seaports and vice versa.
“This mode of transport if encouraged and opened for the private sector, will bring about cheaper and safer mode of cargo movement within the country,’’ Nwabunike said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
COVID-19: NLC to embark on awareness campaign against stigmatisation of victims
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said this was necessary in order to avoid workplace infraction and injustice.
According to him, we are aware of the backlash of COVID-19 stigmatisation, the NLC will embark on a nationwide education and awareness campaign to discourage the stigmatisation of workers and vitims of COVID-19.
“We urge every Nigerian to treat COVID-19 survivors as heroes and heroines. Such noble gesture would encourage infected cases to boldly come forward knowing that they would not be stigmatized.
“This kind of response is crucial in preventing a second wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria. We need all hands to be on deck in this regard, ” he said.
He added that, in the course of the gradual relaxation of the lockdown, it is important that individual citizens and corporate organisations have both personal and collective responsibility to adhere to all health guidelines.
“We call on the leadership of our industrial unions and the state councils to continue working with the different cadres of workers’ leadership in the states and unions to ensure that health and safety facilities and guidelines are followed.
“Such as running water, soaps, hand sanitizers, use of protective masks and social distancing are made available and enforced at different workplaces.
“We encourage workers not to hesitate to contact the National Secretariat of NLC in the event of any COVID-19 related work place infraction, injustice, negligence and gender-based discrimination, ”Wabba added.
He however, added that in spite of the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply enamored by the bravery and resourcefulness of our health care professionals, who have put their lives on the line to contain the spread of the virus.
“In spite of the relative deficit of material resources at their disposal, they have arguably recorded some of the best recovery rates in the world.
“We are immensely proud of the love, faith, courage, and sacrifice demonstrated by our frontline heroes and heroines who have certainly given more than the demand of the call of duty.
“Our gallant frontline workers have served and continue to serve as the resolute buffer between COVID-19 and mass infections cum deaths.
“We will forever be in the debt of thousands of our courageous healthcare workers, transport workers, utility employees, journalists and workers in the informal sector who have continued to show up at their duty posts despite the stare of death, dearth of working tools and paucity of gratitude.
“We condole with the families of workers who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the fight against COVID-19. We assure you that their labours will not be in vain,” he said.
Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide (NAN)
NLC charges workers on post-COVID-19 work challenges
The Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress has urged workers to reflect on the future of work to enhance the ability to confront the challenges ahead.
The state Chairman, Mrs Agnes Sessi, made the call in a statement on Saturday in commemoration of Workers’ Day celebrated annually on May 1.
Sessi said that the challenges ahead were enormous, however, not insurmountable.
“It also warns of severe job contraction in the informal sector as the opportunity for people to be engaged will be highly restricted, given the restriction of movement in many places,” she said.
The chairman also said that the union was aware that some employers might exploit the current situation and engage in anti-labour practices in their organisations to further inflict pains on workers.
She, however, warned that such act would be vehemently resisted by labour.
“While labour will continue to show understanding at this trying time, we implore employers to be cautious in taking decisions on issues that borders on the livelihood of workers.
“We appeal to the three arms of government, including the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, to provide an unrivaled leadership and services not only to the workers but the entire citizens of Lagos State.
“Also, agencies that are saddled with responsibilities of protecting the rights of the workers at work should be alive to their duties,” she said.
Sessi, while commending the government for its efforts in fighting the pandemic, called on the government not to renege on its responsibilities of providing the needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.
She said: “Applauding the health workers is not enough without the continuous provision of safety kits for them to prevent transmission of the virus.
The chairman commended the state government in distributing relief materials to cushion the effect of the lockdown.
She said that the efforts had not yielded the desired result and therefore called on the government to revisit the distribution of palliative items.
“Despite the importance of workers at this critical time, a critical stakeholder like organised labour was not carried along by the government in the distribution of the palliatives.
“We request the inclusion of the real vulnerable in the society including pensioners, widows, physically challenged, to mention a few, as beneficiaries in the palliative arrangement,” Sessi urged.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
COVID-19: NLC in Borno to produce 100,000 face mask for workers
The state Chairman, Bulama Abiso, disclosed this at the 2020 May Day celebration on Friday in Maiduguri.
Abiso said that this year’s celebration titled: “COVID-19 Pandemic and its Socio-economic impact on the Nigerian working class,” was held without funfair due to outbreak of the pandemic in the country.
He said that the face mask was to complement the effort of the state government in combating COVID-19 and to protect the workers from contracting it.
Abiso commended the state government for adopting proactive measures toward containing the virus from spreading in the state.
“While also commending them for payment of stipends to the frontline health workers at the isolation centre, there is the need for the government to implement the hazard allowance approved by the Federal Government to health workers in the state,” he said.
The chairman urged the workers to adopt the habit of social distancing, wearing of face mask, regular and frequent washing of hands with soap or sanitizer to stay safe.
Abiso also called on individuals, corporate organisations and other humanitarian agencies to assist the state government in combating the pandemic.
On worker’s welfare, Abiso urged the government to rescind its decision of suspending the promotion of civil servants until 2021.
The labour leader argued that such decision would undermine the productivity expected of the workers and create industrial disharmony in the system.
“The organised labour advises that proper and appropriate mechanism be put in place to check further abuse of the procedure, if any, but not suspending a legitimate right of workers.
“The question usually asked is what will be the faith of a worker who is due to be promoted and proceeded for retirement within the period.
“It will interest the government to know that workers in the state have been patient and tolerant for the past five years without any promotional benefit and all of a sudden rather than issuing a latter to stimulate them, the exercise has been halted.
“This, we believe will not augur well, we therefore demand for the reversal of the said circular,” he said.
He added that in the mood of COVID-19 pandemic, it was not good to put pressure on government, rather, we strongly request the government to pay leave transport grant and gratuity to both state and local government staff and retirees.
He lauded Gov. Babagana Zulum, for his approach towards addressing issues concerning biometric data capture exercise for workers and prayed that other unresolved issues would be considered by the state government.
Edited By: Joe Idika/Rabiu Sani Ali (NAN)
May Day: Kano NLC demands upward review of health workers’ allowances
The Kano State Chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has advocated for upward review of hazard allowances for front line health workers to stem further spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The NLC Chairman, Mr Kabir Ado made the call while speaking on activities to commemorate the Workers Day celebration, on Friday in Kano.
He noted that Enugu and Lagos States had introduced increment of allowances for their workers, stressing that Kano State Government should do same to motivate its health workers.
The Chairman commended the Federal Government’s effort for the proactive measures adopted against the spread of COVID-19 in Kano State by dispatching a medical team to complement the efforts of the state government.
“And we wish to call on the authorities to ensure provision of adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to all category of workers to ensure their safety.
Edited By: Joe Idika/Rabiu Sani Ali (NAN)
May Day: NLC urges FG to deploy chunk of COVID-19 donations to tackle deficits in health, education sectors
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to deploy huge chunk of the donations made by Corporate Nigeria on COVID-19 and debt relief grants to tackling the deficits in other sectors.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, said this on Friday in Abuja, during the commemoration of the 2020 May Day celebration.
The celebration is with the theme: COVID-19 Pandemic and its Socio-Economic Impact on the Nigerian Working Class.
”For the first time in a long time, the commemoration of the Workers’ Day will be low key and behind closed doors devoid of the usual pomp and parade that exemplify the ”never-say-never” spirit of the working class.
“In Nigeria, the deadly fangs of the Coronavirus have not been any less brutal. Over 1,000 Nigerians have been infected with about 40 deaths already recorded,” he said.
He, however, noted that the world would never remain the same again, after the current episode of the Coronavirus challenge.
“We must reconstruct a robust public health emergency system.
“We can reverse the trend of oversea medical tourism by matching our highly skilled medical personnel with hi-tech medical machines, procured directly from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
“We must stop treating labour as a commodity whose entitlements can be withheld or withdrawn at will,” he said.
Wabba further, said that Nigeria must support its entertainment industry which provides a means of livelihood for the teeming mass of her people especially the youth.
”This is the time to wean our collective survival from the uncertain juices of crude oil.
‘We also call for an urgent review of the power privatisation programme.
“We demand a stop to the exploitation of electricity consumers in Nigeria through estimated billing.
“We also call for the expansion and improvement of our existing road network, ports, railways, internal waterways, and our aviation sector,” he said.
Wabba said that Nigeria must invest in her local economy instead of the craze of globe throttling, in the name of looking for investors.
He added that the country must look inwards to encourage local talents, innovations and enterprise.
”We want to see government take the challenge of local innovations seriously.
“This also means that we must adequately fund research. A country that neglects research is a country that has consigned herself to perpetual servitude.
“Nobody would grow our economy for us.
Wabba, however, said that the huge severance payment and pension to political office holders was a form of corruption.
He noted that it was even more disturbing when many of the recipients of these self-sponsored and self-benefitting allowances were state governors who left office with piles of unpaid salaries, gratuity and pension liabilities.
“The truth is that if we tackle official corruption and waste there will be enough funds to pay workers salaries.
The slowdown in the economy will never be accepted as an excuse to owe workers or to lay off workers from their jobs.
“As much as it is important to keep many Nigerians from the Coronavirus, loss of income and the accompanying destitution can also be a pathfinder for numerous other sicknesses and deaths.
”This is the time to play the balancing game. It is gratifying that President Muhammadu Buhari in his last nationwide broadcast on COVID-19, announced an imminent relaxation of the lockdown in the FCT, Ogun and Lagos.
“The truth is that our economy might collapse into prolonged coma if the total lockdown in many parts of our country persists and lockdowns are best effective in the short term.
“In the medium to long term, the human instinct to survive would kick in and restraint might lead to the collapse of law and order, he said.
He, therefore, called for a smart, gradual and evidence-based restarting of the economy.
Wabba explained that to ensure a safe restart, governments should collaborate to build at least one test centre in each state.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
May Day: NLC wants deployment of chunk of COVID-19 donations to health, education
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), wants the Federal Government to deploy the largest share of coronavirus (COVID-19) relief funds, donated by corporate organisations and individuals, to addressing deficits in health and education sectors.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, made the appeal on Friday in Abuja, during the commemoration of the 2020 Workers” Day.
The theme of the workers’day celebration was: COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Socio-Economic Impact on the Nigerian Working Class.
Wabba said that it would be for the greater good of Nigerians, especially at this crucial period of the global pandemic, if a huge part of the donations was used in tackling deficits in both the education and health sectors.
“’For the first time in a long time, the commemoration of the Workers’ Day will be low key and behind closed doors, devoid of the usual pomp and parade that exemplify the ”never-say-never” spirit of the working class.
He, however, noted that the infection rate in Nigeria could be more than what the official figures presented, as the country’s health system was merely struggling with contact tracing and testing for the virus.
“We must reconstruct a robust public health emergency system.
“We therefore, advocate that a huge chunk of the donations commendably made by corporate Nigerians on the COVID-19 and debt relief grants, be deployed to tackling the deficits in our education and health sectors.
“We can reverse the trend of overseas medical tourism by matching our highly skilled medical personnel with hi-tech medical machines, procured directly from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
Wabba further said that Nigeria must support its entertainment industry which provides a means of livelihood for its teeming population, especially the youths.
“This is the time to wean our collective survival from the uncertain juices of crude oil.
“We also call for an urgent review of the power privatisation programme.
“We demand a stop to the exploitation of electricity consumers in Nigeria through estimated billing.
“We also call for the expansion and improvement of our existing road network, ports, railways, internal waterways, and our aviation sector,” he said.
He also advised Nigerian leaders to look inwards to encourage local talents, innovations and enterprise.
“’We want to see government take the challenge of local innovations seriously.
“This also means that we must adequately fund research. A country that neglects research is a country that has consigned itself to perpetual servitude.
“Nobody would grow our economy for us. The reality is that capital mobility would be a lot harder in the next few years following the COVID-19 pandemic, as richer countries will be struggling to rebuild their own economies.”
According to Wabba, if the country can curb wasteful spending such as payment of bogus severance allowances and pension to political office holders, it will tackle a bigger part of its challenges and keep its workforce and system free of corruption.
“The truth is that if we tackle official corruption and waste, there will be enough funds to pay workers salaries.
“The slowdown in the economy will never be accepted as an excuse to owe employees or lay off workers from their jobs.”
“As much as it is important to keep many Nigerians safe from the coronavirus, loss of income and the accompanying destitution can also be a pathfinder for numerous other sicknesses and deaths.
“This is the time to play the balancing game. It is gratifying that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his last nationwide broadcast on COVID-19, announced an imminent relaxation of the lockdown in the FCT, Ogun and Lagos states.
“The truth is that our economy might go into prolonged coma, if the total lockdown in many parts of our country persists, as lockdowns are best effective in the short term,” he said.
He therefore called for a smart, gradual and evidence-based re-starting of the economy.
Wabba explained that to ensure that, governments should collaborate and build at least one test centre in each state.
“They should also put in more efforts at COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, public fumigation and environmental sanitation; and robust public health education should be expanded and intensified,” he said.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)
May Day: Release of N2.4bn gratuity excites NLC
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has commended the Kebbi State Government for releasing N2.4 billion as part payment of gratuities and leave grants for junior staff.
Malam Umar Alhassan, the Kebbi state Chairman of the congress, said the release of the fund would enhance the lifestyle of retired workers, adding that the leave grant will also enhance workers’ welfare.
Alhassan made this known in a statement to mark 2020 May Day Celebration on Friday in Birnin Kebbi.
The chairman described the gesture by Gov. Atiku Bagudu as commendable and worthy of emulation by other governors, in a bid to alleviate the plight of workers.
He, however, appealed for extension of similar gesture to senior staff to enable them benefit from what he described as ‘kind effort’.
Alhassan also called on members of the congress to reciprocate the gesture by supporting the present administration at all levels, to pave way for more democratic dividends.
Besides, the unionist appealed to the state government to convene a mini economic summit in order to fashion out other ways of generating revenue for the state.
According to him, the summit, if organised will not only be a source of revenue mobilisation to the state but also reduce over dependence on oil, which may no longer be feasible.
Alhassan urged government to also ensure that agricutural inputs were supplied to the farmers early enough to further encourage farming activities across the state.
He commended the efforts of the state government in curbing the spread of the disease in the state.
The labour leader enjoined all civil servants in the state to continue to adhere strictly to preventive measures against the pandemic as directed by experts and government.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Workers’ Day: NLC distributes palliatives in Yobe
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Yobe Chapter on Friday celebrated Workers’ Day on a low key with donation of palliatives to Specialist Hospital and motor parks in Damaturu.
The State Chairman of the NLC, Muktar Tarbutu, while donating the items at the Specialist Hospital Damaturu, said the items were meant to complement Yobe Government’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Tarbutu said the items which included face masks, buckets, liquid hand wash and hand sanitisers would also be donated to the Office of the Head of Service and Damaturu motor parks.
“NLC appreciates and commends Yobe Government under the leadership of Gov. Mai Mala Buni for proactively taking measures to contain an outbreak of the disease in the state,’’ Tarbutu said.
Dr Aisha Buba, the Medical Director, Yobe Specialist Hospital, Damaturu, expressed her appreciation on behalf of the hospital management and Yobe Government.
“This is a very good gesture and it has shown philanthropism of highest order. You have shown that humanity is your priority.
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
Lockdown: Jigawa NLC hails workers’ cooperation with govt.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Jigawa chapter, on Friday, commended its members for their cooperation and support for the government’s stay-at-home order in the state.
The congress gave the commendation during the 2020 May Day celebrations, with the theme “COVID-19 Pandemic and its Socioeconomic Impact on the Nigerian Working Class.”
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Sunusi Alasan and the Secretary, Abubakar Yushau, it noted that workers had been law-abiding and had thus helped in keeping the number of coronavirus victims very low in the state.
The NLC urged workers to continue to be patient and ensure strict adherence to the laid down measures in the fight against the deadly pandemic.
It also saluted the frontline health workers, who, it said, were leading the fight against coronavirus at a great risk, not only to themselves but to their immediate families.
The congress called on government to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced hazard allowances for health workers.
It appealed to government to re-consider allowing tricycle operators to operate under strict conditions to ease the movement of those on essential duties, especially the health workers.
The congress, however, commended state government for the distribution of palliatives in the areas affected by the lockdown and urged it to expand the gesture to other areas populated by the needy and the vulnerable.
It also urged corporate bodies and wealthy individuals to support the government with relieve and sanitation materials to cushion the effects.
The congress appreciated the continued payment of salaries and pensions, in spite of the financial challenges posed by the pandemic and the attendant falling global oil prices.
It urged workers in the state to continue to support the government in ensuring the welfare and wellbeing of the people of the state.
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq
COVID-19: NLC urges government to prioritise workers’ welfare
Mr Leonard Nkah, Ebonyi NLC Chairman, made the appeal in Abakaliki on Friday in a message to workers in the state.
He said that timely payment of salaries, remunerations and other palliatives would serve as boosts to enable them observe all precautionary guidelines, regulations and directives that would make them stay safe from the scourge.
He said: “I appeal to the governments at all levels to kindly attend to the workers needs as a matter of urgency.
” Let them pay salaries and remunerations with every other package as palliative to the workers and the people to help them observe the guidelines such as the lockdown, sit-at-home directive, use of face masks and regular hand washing.
“As a leader who feels the pulse of the people, I can state unequivocally that workers are hungry and in dire need of food.
“That, it is only the provisions of food and welfare packages and the availability of such will help both the workers and the government achieve a successful fight against the pandemic and win this war threatening our health and life.”
Nkah urged workers to be resilient in the face of the pandemic, appealing to them to partner government and other non state actors in the fight against the deadly virus.
“All hands must be on deck and no one should feel less concerned as injury to one, is injury to all.
“Even if you don’t have any other thing to contribute, I want you to be all out in enlightenment campaigns to help those who don’t really understand what we are facing to really understand and comply with every regulation, ” he said.
The labour leader described the 2020 Workers’ Day as ‘unique’ because it was devoid of its usual fanfare and celebration due to the lockdown brought by the novel coronavirus.
He said: “It is with a heart full of burden that I write this message which is unlike any other I’ve ever delivered as a labour leader or experienced in our history.
“This year’s May Day is undoubtedly without the normal gatherings, protocols and procedures worldwide and even the blind knows why.
“The global health pandemic of the novel coronavirus has not only changed the world and everything in it as we have known it, it also threatens to make a quick and abrupt end of both people and labour.
“Economies are crashing like pack of cards with reckless abandon and the rulers of nations are helplessly powerless in the face of an unseen killer agent; the enemy that will destroy everything if not properly tackled, arrested and curbed.
“It would’ve been unimaginable and indeed unbelievable that such a day will come when establishments, companies and factories will shut, shops and offices shut, even religious gatherings banned and movements restricted.
“We are not in a war as we’ve known wars to be; nation against nation, but yet we are in a war situation, more terrible than the conventional wars.
“Prevention is far better than cure and we have to preserve ourselves and people from getting infected by this deadly virus which has claimed almost 300,000 lives; infected and threatening to take more than three million human lives globally.
” But God is our refuge and in Him we trust; we need not be filled with fear and trepidation as if we have no hope, we only need to be prayerful and united in our resolve to adhere to the laid down rules of hygienic practices and social distancing coupled with healthy living.
“I assure you, the great Nigerian workers that we all shall see the end of this virus and celebrate our victory over it.
“There is hope and you and I have to be our brother’s keepers.
” Share love; share care, share provisions in whatever way you can and share health and life and work together with the government and other well meaning organisations in every good and positive enterprise towards victory.”
He applauded to Gov. Dave Umahi and other state players in their efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
Some of the workers, Mr Sunday Ayigor, Stephen Onwe and Mrs Loveth Elom, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria , urged government to revisit the minimum wage and salary adjustment paid to Ebonyi workers which they alleged were the least in the federation.
The workers who lauded Umahi for the giant strides made in physical infrastructure, urged him to prioritise workers’ welfare and social benefits to boost their morale.
“No promotion benefits for workers in the state government’s payroll and we receive the least minimum wage and salary adjustment in Nigeria and this is affecting productivity of the workers and their living standards,” they said.
May Day: NLC demands implementation of N30,000 minimum wage in Kwara
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)
COVID-19: NLC urges FCTA to provide PPE, incentives for health workers
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), FCT Chapter, has called on the FCT Administration to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as incentives for health workers to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Chairman, Abubakar Yakub, in statement on Thursday, said the fight against the virus had opened up a lot of issues surrounding poor health facilities, especially at the rural communities.
Yakub said the FCT Administration must look at primary health care facilities with a view to making them functional.
“It has impacted negatively on the global economy and work place.
“Nigeria, which relies on crude oil exportation for most of its foreign earnings, is really in an economic dilemma.
“The price of crude oil has nosedived that the national budget has to be restructured to suit the reality of today.
“That is why it is important for the government to think out of the box and diversify the nation’s economy, especially to consider solid mineral, tourism, agricultural and a host of other economic venture.
“We have observed that, even though it was properly done in most councils, some councils have serious issues during the palliative distribution. On the whole, it was a nice gesture by the administration,” he said.
In a related development and against the backdrop of 2020 May Day celebration, the FCT Labour chairman commended the Federal Government and the FCT Administration for implementing and paying arrears of the 2019 new minimum wage.
“We must thank God for keeping us alive to witness yet another May Day celebration.
“This year’s celebration is unique, as Nigeria is celebrating its 60th independence anniversary.
“There is need for Nigerian workers to take stock of these 60 years as it would also enable us appreciate the labour of our heroes past,” he said.
Also, Yakub commended the FCT Administration for rising up to the challenge of reducing kidnapping and other crimes in the city.
He said kidnapping in some area councils, including Abaji, Kwali, Kuje, Bwari, Gwagwalada and AMAC had reduced drastically.
Yakub also charged the FCT Administration on the need to invite investors to invest in the waste management infrastructure in the FCT.
He said a lot could be achieved with collaboration with investors in turning the waste into wealth.
“We, therefore, call on the FCT Administration to double its effort in making Abuja a clean and an enviable city in Africa.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Felix Ajide (NAN)
NLC Kaduna council rejects 25% deductions from worker’s salaries, warns of seeking lawful redress
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kaduna Council, has rejected deduction of 25 per cent of the salaries of civil servants in the state by the Malam Nasir el-Rufai administration.
Chairman of the council, Mr Ayuba Sulaiman, rejected the deductions at a news conference in Kaduna on Wednesday.
Sulaiman said, “Sequel to the deductions of 25 per cent of the salaries of all civil servants in Kaduna state, effective from April 2020, labour in Kaduna State unequivocally rejects the deduction.”
He said that the union was not consulted on the issue nor did it consent to the state government’s decision to make the deductions.
“Article 8 of the International Labour Organisation Protection of Wages Convention, 1949, (No.95) provides that deduction from wages shall be permitted only under conditions and to the extent prescribed by the National Laws or regulations or fixed by collective agreement or arbitration award.
“Also, Section 5(1) of the Labour Act Cap l.1 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 provides thus:
“Except where it is expressly permitted by this act or any agreement or contract with a worker for any deductions or wages to be paid by the employer to the worker or any payment to the employer by the worker for or in respect of any fines provided that with the prior consent in writing of an authorised labour officer a reasonable deduction may be made in respect of injury or loss caused to the employer by the willful misconduct or neglect of the worker,” he cited.
The chairman observed that the labour union in state was not against the provision of palliatives to the poor to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown from the salaries of civil servants in the state.
“But I wish to state that the union ought to be carried along, and such deductions or contributions should be made voluntarily not compulsorily.
“As a responsible working group, which is conscious of the predicament of the average citizens of Kaduna state, we are disposed to committing much higher for the well-being of the less privileged if the need be and if proper process is followed.
“In view of the above, labour in Kaduna state calls on the Kaduna state government to stop the 25 per cent deductions henceforth, and should return the 25 per cent deductions from salaries of the workers.
“Failure to comply with the above will leave the labour in the state with no option but to explore other possible avenues within the purview of the law,” Sulaiman said.
Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
COVID-19: NLC urges FG, States not to deduct workers’ salaries
Mr Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President made the call on Tuesday in commemoration of the 2020 International Workers’ Memorial Day with the theme: “Stop the Pandemic at Work”.
“On this occasion, we make the point that labour is not a commodity to be taken, trampled, and tossed aside.
“Workers create the wealth and demand a decent fraction of the reward of their efforts.
“We urge workers everywhere to continue to draw inspiration from the fact that without our sweat, no sweet gain can be made.
“Without the twitching of our muscles, no socio-economic puzzle can be solved.
“In reciprocation of the enormous sacrifice made by workers, we urge employers of labour to show solidarity with the sacrifice of our workers and people by ensuring wage protection, income support and social inclusion at these trying times.
“This is not the time to stop or deduct from workers’ salaries. Such an action would be both illogical and illegal as workers’ salaries are core elements of employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements.
“We have asked our affiliates and state councils to resist any salary deduction on the account of COVID-19.
“We reassure our workers that our priority in these trying times remains the cautious, gradual, evidence-led and smart restart of the economy so that our workers can go back to work,” he said.
He said that the NLC was completely committed to the recovery of lost jobs, protection of wages, support for income and livelihood and improvement of Nigeria’s social safety net.
Wabba, while speaking on the commemoration of the day said the celebration was in the memory of workers who had paid the supreme sacrifice in the course of their duties as workers or as activists fighting for the rights and interests of the working class.
He said that it was also a day to remember workers, who had lost some limbs, suffered injury and other forms of severe loss while at their work places.
“The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Stop the Pandemic at Work”.
“This is significant coming at the epoch of the global fight against the novel corona virus disease otherwise known as COVID-19.
“The contribution of frontline workers, especially healthcare workers, has become the only buffer between deaths in thousands and deaths in millions.
“On a day like this, we salute the uncommon love, faith, courage, and sacrifice by frontline workers who have given more than what the call of duty demands to give hope to humanity,” he said.
He said that the society would forever remain in indebted to thousands of healthcare workers, transport workers, utility employees, journalists.
“Even workers in the informal sector who have continued to show up at their duty posts despite the threat of death, dearth of working tools and paucity of gratitude,” he said.
The NLC president condoled with the families of workers who had paid the supreme sacrifice in the fight against COVID-19.
He assured them that their labours would not be in vain and their unquantifiable sacrifice would never be forgotten.
“We also wish to use this commemoration to ask government and employers in the private sector to throw in sufficient weight to make the load of our frontline workers easier.
“We demand sufficient personal protection equipment, hand sanitizers, functional wash rooms, suitable rest rooms and other facilities to make the work of our brave warriors on the health frontline less herculean than it already is.
“Our health workers and other frontline workers are not on a suicide mission.
“They simply want to save lives. The least government and employers can do is to help them keep their lives so that they can go on saving other lives.
“We commend the Federal Government for the insurance cover and enhanced incentives provided for frontline health workers. We urge states to follow suit.
“We also commend the Sokoto State government for leading the way in this regard,” he said.
He however noted that Nigeria would be celebrating its 60th Independence, saying it was important to point out that without workers, the independence would have remained a pipe dream.
He further called on the leadership of the industrial unions to ensure that health and safety facilities and guidelines such as running water, soaps, sanitizers, protective masks and social distancing were made available and enforced at different workplaces.
He noted that this would be part of smart measures to restart the economy, “while the government should intensify COVID-19 testing (build at least a test centre in each state), contact tracing, public fumigation, and robust public health education.”
Wabba said given the current lockdown and in line with global realities, 2020 May Day celebration would be low key.
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
NLC, TUC laud Makinde on prompt payment of salaries
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Oyo State have commended Gov. Seyi Makinde for ensuring prompt payment of workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements.
The commendation was contained in a statement jointly issued in Ibadan by the state’s NLC Chairman, Mr Bayo Titilola-Sodo, and his TUC counterpart, Emmanuel Ogundiran.
“In March, we were apprehensive on your meeting the date set for payment of workers salaries due to COVID-19 in the state.
“You delivered in a bold measure to ensure the actualisation of the set day by requesting the state House of Assembly to reduce their budgetary allocation by 30 per cent.
“The gesture is a testimony to the fact that for the first time, the executive and legislature are on the same page to alleviate the sufferings in the polity.
“Your disposition to prompt payment of active and inactive workers in the state is a clear departure from the days when the COVID-19 crisis would have been used as excuse not to pay for the next six months,’ the statement said.
The statement pledged the continued dedication of members to work as well as unalloyed support to the Makinde administration.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
COVID-19: NLC opposes use of contributory pension for palliatives
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Friday said it was opposed to the use of contributory pension as palliatives for workers as part of the move to cushion the effect of the lockdown over Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, the President of NLC, said this while fielding questions from newsmen at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 daily press briefing in Abuja.
This is sequel to a question posed to the NLC President if the contributory pension could be used as palliatives as the lockdown entered the fourth week.
He said that there was need to protect the money and the owners of the contributory pension, adding that such money should not be used as palliatives.
Wabba however lauded the PTF members for the work they were doing to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the chairman of PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha, must be commended for the interface between PTF and NLC.
He said that the NLC would continue to be reasonable by engaging the government and the PTF, while commending the frontline health workers for the sacrifice they are making to curtail the virus.
He said that the NLC had produced locally made face masks, stating that it will be distributed free to some Nigerians, adding that the advantage of the locally made face mask is that it can be washed, iron and resided.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some of the locally made face masks were presented to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Chairman PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha, for onward distribution.
Receiving the indigenousmasks, Mustapha commended NLC for the support and urged others to emulate the gesture to complement government efforts at containing COVID-19.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Kyari’s death big blow to Presidency, FG-Oyo NLC
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State Council, has described the death of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, as a big blow to the Presidency and Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Oyo State NLC Chairman, Bayo Titilola-Sodo, stated this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Ibadan.
Titilola-Sodo said it was saddened as humanity to lose a life particularly with this ravaging Coronavirus pandemic.
The state NLC Chairman said that Kyari’s death was a big blow to the Presidency and Nigeria in general considering the role he play in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the last four an half years.
“The lessons we should learn is that God is the giver and the taker of lives and nobody should think he or she is absolute of death.
“We should remember that whatever we have done in life will remain and continue to speak for us after our death.
“Some people may see Kyari in bad light while others may see him as hero but the absolute thing is that he has played his role and he is no more,” Titilola-Sodo said.
He prayed to Almighty Allah to forgive his shortcomings and protect the families he left behind.
The NLC Chairman called on Nigerians to keep to the protocols of Coronavirus and maintain personal hygiene, saying the virus has not respect for any individual.
“Oyo State that we are, is in a territory of uncertainty and base on this we should do whatever we can to conform with the rules and order of the state government.
“We should also use our local herbs like bitter leaves and others to boost our immunity,”Titilola-Sodo said.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
NLC lauds Kano state Govt on lockdown against COVID-19
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has commended Kano State Government for declaring total lockdown in the state to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
The state NLC Chairman, Mr Kabir Ado-Minjibir said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , on Wednesday in Kano.
“We also call on security agencies to respect our members on essential services and urge all workers, including frontline Health Professionals and journalists to always use proper uniforms and means of identification while on duty
“We want to call on the entire workers of the state, who are not on essential services, and also the general public to abide by the decision of the state government in the best interest of our health by staying at home.
“We pray that this seven-day lockdown in the state may stop further spread of the disease and wish those affected speedy recovery.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)