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TUC opposes life pension bill for governor, deputy, assemblymen

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TUC opposes life pension bill for governor, deputy, assemblymen

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Lagos, April 28, 2019 The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) says plans by the Bayelsa House of Assembly to place themselves, state Governor and Deputy Governor on life pension is fraudulent and will be resisted.

The TUC in a statement on Sunday in Lagos said that it read with indignation and outright betrayal the move by the Bayelsa assembly to pass such bill.

The statement was jointly signed by Mr Bobboi Kaigama, President of TUC and its Secretary General, Mr Musa-Lawal Ozidi.

According to the TUC, the new bill will repeal the existing pensions for governor and deputy governor law of 2003 if passed.

It also said that it was wrong for the lawmakers to come up with such at a time the retirees who had served the country for 35 years were dying at verification centres.

”Many of the retirees cannot even afford drugs to take care of their age-related sicknesses. Yet politicians who served for just four years are placing themselves on life pension.

”It is obvious there is no milk of kindness left in these people and it is a deliberate attempt to widen the scope of fraudulent activities by politicians in the state,” the union said.

It said that such self-centered bill started with some states years ago and unfortunately the number was increasing, hence the need to stop it.

”This is peak of irresponsibility that cannot be allowed to persist whether the bill is given expedited passage on the floor of the house or not,” it said.

The TUC, however, urged the Bayelsa legislature and states nursing such ideas to drop them as the organised labour would not leave any stone unturned in the fight for good governance and accountability.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu

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Justice, fair play to workers remain our priority – Oyo TUC

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC), Oyo State chapter, has expressed its commitment to justice and fair play in its relationship with workers in the state.
The state TUC Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Ogundiran, stated this on Wednesday in Ibadan during the official integration of Quarry Product Sellers, Marketers and Logistics Providers (QPM) into the Union of Tippers and Quarry Employers of Nigeria (UTQEN).
Ogundiran
stressed that the welfare of every member of affiliated unions was paramount, saying that the congress would continue to stand for good governance.
He urged all the unions and associations under TUC to be law abiding and be good ambassadors of the congress, through their obedience to the constituted authority.
Ogundiran, who said that hooliganism, violence and other forms of indiscipline were alien to the congress, called on members to sustain the credibility for which TUC was known.
The union leader said that QPM’s alignment with UTQEN was a step in the right direction, stressing that the integration would help it achieve its aims and objectives, as contained in the Trade Union Act.
Speaking at the occasion, the National President of UTQEN, Mr Adewale Aliu
, urged the state chapter of the union to accommodate relevant groups and associations that might have interest in joining it.
The state Chairman of UTQEN, Mr Wasiu Yekini, assured the new members of equal opportunities.
The leader of QPM, Dr Yinka Kilanko, promised to abide by the rules and regulations of TUC.
The News Agency of Nigeria
reports that the highlight of the occasion was the acceptance of QPM members into UTQEN by the state TUC chairman.


Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Ramadan: TUC calls for sober reflection

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The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has urged Muslim faithful to have a sober reflection because of the challenge posed by the COVID -19 pandemic.

It made the call in a statement jointly signed by its President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Mr Musa-Lawal Ozigi, on Saturday, in celebration of the Ramadan festival.

“The world is in a dire strait, and as true Muslims, adherence to teaching of the holy Quran and the lessons from the life of the prophet Muhammad can help heal our wound.

“We must show love to one another now more than ever before; also, Nigerians must maintain peace, a corruption-free society and love one another irrespective of religious affinities to forge ahead, ” the statement read.

The TUC said that the essence of the celebrations include living sacrificial lives, sincere initiation and implementation of worthy policies by public officers.

It called for transparency on the part of government, ensuring that people were not denied their rights.

“We call on the Federal Government and other tiers of government to rise up to the task of rebuilding the economy; deal with the issue of tribalism, nepotism, corruption, religious intolerance that plagued the country before now.

“The COVID-19 is just an additional plague; if we miss the opportunity of redirecting our affairs now, we may never get it right again.

“As a people, we must all submit ourselves to the will of the Almighty God, knowing that He alone can help us to overcome the present challenges, no matter how thorny or weighty they may appear at the moment, ” the statement read.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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COVID-19: Former TUC president seeks palliatives for taxpayers

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A former President of the Trade Congress of Nigeria, Mr Peter Esele, has told the Federal Government to extend its coronavirus palliatives to taxpayers as a way of giving back to taxpayers in their moment of need.

“Identify the taxpayers and give them relief because you already have a data of these taxpayers,’’ Esele told a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview on Monday in Benin.

According to him, once this is done, more people are going to be swayed by the action to see the importance of paying tax – and they will begin to pay tax.

“Instead of government to continue taking without giving back, this is the time for people to know the importance of government in their lives,” Esele said.

The unionist described the current COVID-19 situation in Nigeria as a wakeup call to government to begin to address administrative and leadership lapses in every sector of the economy.

“It’s the first time we are facing something like this but it has also revealed to us the emptiness of our planning over the years.”

Esele said the way forward was for government to sustain sensitisation of the populace, providing enough testing kits and scaling up the testing capacity of the country.

He said there was also need to provide additional beds and necessary facilities at the isolation centres to discourage people from running away from the centres.

The veteran labour leader said the increasing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 victims was not unexpected in a country like Nigeria.

He noted that if the testing capacity of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was increased, more cases would be confirmed, expressing his disappointment that the NCDC had not increased its testing capacity significantly all the while.

“What we are having right now is what is expected because we cannot expect the number of people who are being tested or confirmed to go down yet.

“One would expect it to continue to increase for another one month before we start seeing decrease, which is the benefit of the lockdown and other measures like social distancing put in place to curtail the spread of the virus.

“You are going to have these benefits in highbrow areas because when you look at statistics from the NCDC, the local government area with the highest number of confirmed cases is Etiosa Local Government Area in Lagos State.

“This happens to be the area where you have people, who always travel in and out of the country.

“For a population of 175 million to 200 million people, I think our testing is still very low and I think there is going to be remarkable increase of those who are infected before the statistics can go down.

“However, I think the NCDC and those associated with it are in a catch 2-2 situation as they are truly in a difficult position through no fault of theirs.”

Esele said that government and Nigerians should not worry much about increases in the number of infected cases but that government should worry about how to expand facilities to accommodate more people down with the disease.

“Once we keep on emphasising that and everybody becomes aware of what they should do, everything will gradually start going down.”

“So what the government is doing is to relax the lockdown a bit and allow the people take a breather because if they don’t do that there will be social uprising,” he said.

Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Nigeria workers deserve 3 months tax holidays, TUC appeals

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The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Quadri Olaleye, has called on the three tiers of government to grant three months tax holidays to Nigerian workers.

Olaleye made the appeal in his contribution at the Workers’ Day Virtual (online) dialogue with stakeholders to commemorate this year’s annual Workers Day, organised by The Nigerian Workforce Strategy and Enlightenment Centre (NIWOSEC), in Ilorin on Saturday.

He also advised the government to invest massively in the public health sector, to encourage frontline health workers, urging government to give reasonable palliatives to Nigerians during the ongoing lockdown.

He urged the government to diversify the economy and standardise the health sector, stressing the need for the government to create jobs and enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

The Executive Director and Lead Strategist at NIWOSEC, Dr David Ehindero, said the aim of the virtual dialogue was to develop an effective and participatory model of engagement for stakeholders in the Nigerian industrial labour system.

Ehindero said that the need to provide an alternative platform for stakeholders to commemorate the annual event despite the COVID-19 related social distancing were amongst the aim of the initiative.

“Part of the objective of the virtual dialogue is to engender interrogation and discussion on the industrial relation and workplace implications of COVID-19 pandemic.

“To articulate vision for a post pandemic era, identifying structure and facilities needed to navigate the socioeconomic environment after the current crisis as well as possible measures to avert prevailing challenges should another challenge occur,” he said.

Dr Anifowose Kilani, the Chairman, Signa Sabitors, also advocated for comprehensive and compulsory insurance cover for Nigerian workers.

He identified the need for workers to have access to genuine and authentic information, adding that lack of authentic information can affect the psychology of workers.

“Government must handle relaxation of lockdown with caution in order to forestall increasing rate of infection of COVID-19,” Kilani advised.

The Director of Research, Planning and Curriculum Development at the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Mr Edwin Anisha, also called on the government to ensure that workers do not lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19 crisis.

Anisha advised government to develop unique business models and avoid copy and paste of policies in its resolve to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is need for government to strengthen public health institutions to respond to emergency health challenges and urgently ensure that there is reliable data with which they could adequately guarantee social interventions,” he said.

The Vice-President, Industrial Global Union, Mr Issa Aremu, in his contribution counseled workers to be creative while COVID-19 crisis last.

“Workers and government should explore the opportunities in the health challenges confronting the country, new jobs can be created while concentrating on the old ones.

“I would also like to stress the need for labour leaders to be more involved in politics and governance; governance should not be left to politicians, everybody should be interested in what is going on in the government.

“There is the need for comprehensive approach to political and economic development as it affects workers,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the Workers Day virtual dialogue is “COVID-19 And Its Implications For Nigeria Workers” .

The organisers say it is designed to suggest appropriate policy measures for the sustainability of businesses, job security, guaranteed income security, and extend social protection and relief to workplace categories most impacted by the pandemic and vulnerable persons in the society.

 

Edited By: Abigael Joshua/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN

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Workers’ Day: TUC distributes palliatives, seeks more support for vulnerable

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The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Lagos State Council, has called on well meaning Nigerians, corporate bodies and multinational organisations to take the lead in giving to the vulnerable at this time of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The union’s Secretary, Mr Abiodun Aladetan, made the call during a visit to Makoko community in Yaba area of Lagos State on Friday, in commemoration of Workers’ Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the union distributed palliatives to residents in the community as part of activities to celebrate Workers’ Day, marked annually on May 1.

“This will help to ameliorate the suffering of the people because government cannot do it alone; we must come together to fight this pandemic, ” he said.

The secretary said there was need for the government to have comprehensive data of all Nigerians for proper planning and good policy decision in terms of distributing palliatives to the vulnerable in the society.

According to him, such data will enable government to know the number of those who are vulnerable and have been badly affected by the lockdown policy.

“The only way the distribution of palliatives can be better organised, either now or in future after COVID-19, is for the government to have a comprehensive data of its people.

“This is the reason why we cannot plan properly and predict certain variables.

“With data in place, we can know those who are living below the poverty line, the numbers of vulnerable people including physically challenged; those in active work and retirees, ” Aladetan said.

Earlier in a statement, TUC Chairman, Mr Gbenga Ekundayo, urged employers of labour to ensure sustainability of businesses and jobs through coordinated policy response, social dialogue and engaging workers’ representatives.

Ekundayo said such steps were key to building public trust and support for measures that would be needed to mitigate the damage the COVID-19 pandemic had caused, and also to overcome it.

“We believe very strongly that management of organisations and unions must, as a matter of necessity, see each other as partners in progress and join forces toward combating this pandemic.

“We must by all means avoid unnecessary labour issues at this critical time.

“Nevertheless, our major objective is to preserve workers’ lives, especially those on the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic, ” he said.

Ekundayo expressed worry over unilateral actions taken by some employers in sacking workers and depriving them of some of their entitlements.

He described such move as dangerous and a sure precursor to industrial disharmony.

Ekundayo said the union had read of the consultation of organised private sector with the state government and hoped that solutions being examined would be put into consideration.

“The indices on ground in our nation indicate that the level of unemployment is quite high and alarming.

“About 80 per cent of Nigerian youths are without jobs; therefore, it will be reasonable for the government to embark on meaningful economic stimulation activities that will keep people in their jobs, ” Ekundayo said.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Workers Day: TUC calls for rebuilding of economy to avoid recession

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The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has called on governments at all levels, employers and workers to collaborate in reorganising the economy to avoid a looming recession.

TUC’s President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, made the call in a statement on Thursday in Lagos, ahead of the Workers’ Day, celebration on Friday.

Olaleye had expressed worry over how the country would survive COVID-19 and build an economy that would keep it out of imminent recession.

“This May Day is an unusual one; it coincides with a period the world is facing possible  extinction if we are not careful.

“Distinguished comrades, the speech will not be a story telling but practical steps on how to steer the country back to shape after the elimination of coronavirus.

“Five months away from today our country will be 60 years.

“It is on that note that we came up with our theme, “60 Years of Nationhood: Insecurity, Wage Poverty and the Future of Work in Nigeria.”

“All the issues captured in our theme are critical and can define our political, economic and welfare trajectories as a people,” he said.

The president highlighted the various sectors of the economy that needed attention in order to avoid recession to include health, labour, agriculture, oil and gas as well as electricity, among others.

He called for the fixing of the refineries and building of new ones, which he said would shield the economy from the vagaries and vicissitudes of international oil prices and politics.

Olaleye also called on governments at all levels to exploit the potential of the agricultural sector.

He addedd that Small and Medium Scale businesses, especially the informal sector, should also be encouraged because of the critical role it played in employment.

“We also advocate reduction of food and drug prices to enable Nigerians who survived the pandemic to recuperate well.

“Furthermore, Covid -19 pandemic met us in a state of unpreparedness.

“The Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, died of coronavirus complications and his death presents us a great opportunity to revisit our health sector challenges.

“All existing federal teaching and specialist hospitals should be upgraded with the state-of-the-art medical equipment to meet the modern day standards and the emerging disease conditions,” he said.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Demand rises in India’s Bihar state to bring back students stuck at coaching hub Kota

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Clamour is growing in India’s eastern state of Bihar for bringing back thousands of students stuck in Kota district of western state of Rajasthan, amid the ongoing Lockdown in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Kota is a hub of coaching institutes for students preparing for entrance tests for engineering and medical courses. These students have been stuck in Kota ever since March 25, when the first phase of ongoing 40-day Lockdown was imposed by the central government.

While several states governments like Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra had arranged for buses to bring back their respective students, the state government of Bihar refused to do so saying that if the students’ demand was fulfilled, then similar demands would be made by hundreds of thousands of students and daily-wage workers hailing from Bihar and stuck in other parts of the country.

Bihar happens to be the home state of hundreds of thousands of labourers and daily-wage workers spread across the length and breadth of country. These workers, hailing from Bihar state, are normally engaged in activities like construction, farming and other labour intensive jobs.

On Tuesday a group of students protested near the Patna University, in state capital Patna, demanding that the state government bring back the students from Kota.

Over the past few days similar protests had also been carried out by students stuck in Kota. TV channels showed these students asking the Bihar government why it could not make arrangements for transporting them back to their homes like other state governments did in the recent weeks.

A public interest petition was also filed before the Patna High Court a couple of days ago, which asked the state government to file its reply. The state government told the court that it wasn’t able to bring back the students as it was following the lockdown guidelines as directed by the central government.

According to media reports, during Monday’s interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi through video-conferencing, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that the state was strictly adhering to the guidelines on lockdown.

“It will not be possible to bring back anybody, including students from places like Kota and migrant workers stranded elsewhere”, till the time the Union government amended or issued fresh directive in this regard, he stated.

He reiterated his earlier stand that a move to transfer people from one place to another defeated the very spirit of implementing a lockdown.

(XINHUA)

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Workers Memorial Day: ITUC applauds frontline workers on fight against COVID-19

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The International Trade Union Congress (ITUC), Africa, has applauded workers at the frontline in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as the world set to mark the International Workers Memorial Day.

Mr Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, General Secretary, ITUC, Africa gave the commendation in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

The International Workers Memorial Day is celebrated annually on April 28 and the theme for the 2020 commemoration is, “Stop the Pandemic at Work”.

Adu-Amankwah said that the day was set aside as a day of remembrance and action for workers who have been killed, disable, injured or made unwell by their work.

According to him, this year, ITUC Africa joins the ITUC to commemorates the day by taking opportunity of the day to recognise and applaud workers on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

“We pay homage to healthcare workers who continue to sacrifice and risk their lives to save others.

“We also commend essential services and workers who have to continue working during these difficult periods to ensure that life can go on.

“These include workers in electricity and water provision, food providers, traders, sale attendants, cashiers, bank workers, drivers, waste pickers, cleaners, security and media personnel.

” In these times of real crises it is so evident how essential the goods and services these workers provide. They deserve full recognition and the right to organise and better conditions of work,” he said.

The General Secretary, while recognising the noble work by these gallant women and men, also paid special tribute to workers who have lost their lives in the line of duty during these tough times.

According to Adu- Amankwah, those workers are the real heroines and heroes of the working class.

”To remember these martyrs and our noble essential workers, we ask all affiliates to join in commemorating the day by showing solidarity to “Stop the Pandemic at Work”.

“Workers should also send a photo of a candle light in their homes or workplace in solidarity with frontline workers.

“These should be sent to [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected],” he said.

Edited By: Emmanuella Anokam/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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NLC, TUC laud Makinde on prompt payment of salaries

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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.

It also commended Makinde’s efforts at improving the socioeconomic status of the state  through attraction of local and foreign investors as well as beefing up security.

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)

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