TROUBLE LOOMS!!! NLC in discussion over fresh strike action

Following the pronouncement by the governors regarding a new minimum wage, the organised labour is said to be considering a new wave of industrial action unless their demands are met.

The labour movement is worried that Nigerians may turn a cold shoulder to a fresh call for an industrial action demanding the speedy passage of a new minimum wage law. The Guardian learnt in Abuja yesterday that employers had hinged their support for N30,000 as the new minimum wage on an assurance that there would be no strike.

The labour movement had threatened to strike penultimate week over the refusal of the Federal Government to receive the report of the tripartite committee and transmit the same to the National Assembly.

It was learnt that there were shouting marches between labour leaders and employers’ body when labour mulled a strike. It was said that labour had to reconsider its position so as not to lose the support of the employers.

According to the employers’ representatives, it would be double jeopardy for them to support the new figure and at the same time have labour go on strike. They argued that the businesses of their members would suffer as a result.

As it stands, the organised labour is in dilemma whether to go all-out for a strike to force government to accede to the N30,000 demand and risk losing the support of the organised private sector or keep employing strategies to ensure government supports the figure.

Meanwhile, opposition to the new wage remains unchanged among state governors. The governors at a meeting on Wednesday night warned that many workers might be laid off if the new pay is implemented.

But in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, said such a threat was not new. He insisted that the process of negotiation by the tripartite social partners for a new wage had ended and a new national minimum wage of N30,000 had been agreed upon by government, labour and employers in the private sector.

“Therefore, the current one (threat) cannot be used to intimidate labour. The consequences of retrenching workers are too grievous for any political office holder truly elected by the people. Few political office holders are bent on enslaving Nigerian workers with peanuts mislabeled as salaries. We urge such elected public officials to subject their humongous salaries and allowances, reputed to be among the highest in the world, to public perusal.”

Wabba urged the governors to go to their respective states and inform workers on their individual position on the new national minimum wage of N30, 000. He also asked workers to remain steadfast on their right to decent wages and improved living conditions.

“To the oppressors, we have only one answer for you: we will never sleep on our rights. We hereby reiterate our directive to Nigerian workers to vote out any politician or political party that refuses to pay the new national minimum wage of N30,000. We shall continue to consolidate our efforts to strengthen already existing platforms and structures to give teeth to our resolve to vote out anti-labour governors and politicians in the forthcoming 2019 general election,” Wabba said.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily present the wage bill to the National Assembly for appropriate amendment and implementation.

He explained: “It would interest Nigerians to know that the new national minimum wage of N30,000 was a product of intense and robust negotiations at the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee that lasted for one year. At the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee, state governments were represented by six states, one state from each of the six geo-political zones.”

The government should do all it can to avoid another round of strike regarding the minimum wage, but are the governors being unreasonable to workers plight?

Please share your views in the comment section.

 

Oshiomhole backs labour on minimum wage- ex-NLC president insists governors can pay N30,000

Former labour leader and National Chairman of the APC, has thrown his weight behind the proposed N30,000 minimum wage by the NLC and TUC.

Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says governors can meet the demands of workers. The organised labour is currently fighting for an upward review of workers pay from N18,000 to N30,000.

While labour is insisting on N30,000, Abdulaziz Yari, chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, had said apart from Lagos and Rivers, any state which attempts to pay N30,000 would go bankrupt. He said the only condition for N30,000 minimum wage is if the workforce is reduced.

But Oshiomhole, a former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said as a governor, he told his colleagues that payment of salaries was no burden, but a means of enhancing the development potential of the state. Oshiomhole, who governed Edo state between 2008 and 2016, said that the country’s major problem is stealing of public resources.

“My views are clear, that payment of wages is not an act of kindness for an employer to pay the employees’ wages at the end of the month. Even the Holy Bible says that the labourer is entitled to his wages”, Oshiomhole said on a television programme, according to The Nation.

“I think, again, this is where President Buhari stands out clearly. He has publicly asked public sector employers; how do you sleep when you have not paid your employers for one year? But he did not stop at lamenting it, he went on to provide the much- talked about bailout fund and said, ‘please use this money to pay your workers and pay pension arrears’..

“As for my views on the minimum wage, I tried to deal with it as a governor. I told my colleagues then that wage is not a burden in the society. In economics, when people work and get paid, purchasing power is enhanced and because purchasing power is enhanced producers will respond to that by seeking to produce more goods and services. And in the process they will recruit more hands.

“I remember some people calling me to ask how you will pay it. I am on record of having paid it and as we speak my successor in office is paying it. I do not agree with those who says Nigeria cannot afford a more realistic minimum wage.

“My being in government or now chairman of a party cannot change what I believe in. I know that no nation has enough to meet the greed of leaders but nations have enough to meet basic needs of their people.

“The real problem in the public sector is money being stolen in the name of salaries; I found it embarrassing when we talk about ghost workers. And I ask the question who counts ghosts, it is only in Nigeria that ghosts are known. The labourer deserves its wage; the primary purpose of government is the welfare of its people. So we must pay wages as at when due.”

Can most states in Nigeria afford to pay N30,000 minimum wage as claimed by labour?

Please share your opinion in the comment section.

NLC to governors: Sack any worker due to minimum wage and face the consequences

The organised labour led by the NLC and the TUC has warned state governors against the idea of sacking workers so as to meet up with the demands of N30,000 minimum wage, stressing that such an act will be met with severe circumstances.

Labour yesterday rejected the governors’ claim that states cannot pay N30,000 minimum wage if it is eventually approved. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) condemned  the threat by the govermors to sack workers should the new wage come into effect.

To NLC President Ayuba Wabba, the threat is not new in the struggle for review of the national minimum wage. He said workers might be prevailed upon not to vote for governors who fail to pay the new wage.

“Therefore, the current one by the governor of Zamfara (Abdulaziz Yari) cannot be used to intimidate labour,” Wabba said in a statement, reiterating the directive that workers should vote out anti-labour governors and politicians. The consequences of workers’ retrenchment are too grievous for any political office holder truly elected by the people to contemplate.

“Few political office holders are bent on enslaving Nigerian workers with peanuts mislabelled as salaries. We urge such elected public officials to subject their humongous salaries and allowances, reputed to be among the highest in the world to public perusal. Pro rata with the minimum wage, they want to force down the throats of Nigerian workers,” he said.

Wabba urged each of the governors to go to their state and inform workers on their individual position on the new national minimum wage of N30, 000.

”To the oppressors, we have only one answer for you, we will never sleep on our rights. We hereby reiterate our directive to Nigerian workers to vote out any politician or political party that refuses to pay the new national minimum wage of N30, 000.

“We shall continue to consolidate our efforts to strengthen already existing platforms and structures to give teeth to our resolve to vote out anti-labour governors and politicians in the forthcoming 2019 general election, ‘’Wabba said.

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily present to the National Assembly the bill on the National Minimum Wage for appropriate amendment and implementation.

“It would interest Nigerians to know that the new national minimum wage of N30,000 was a product of intense and robust negotiations at the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee that lasted for one year.

“At the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee, state governments were represented by six states, one state from each of the six geo-political zones.

The statement added: “The 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) recognises individual states in the Collective Bargaining Process not Nigeria Governors Forum. The states, like the other social partners, have already defended their positions during negotiations at the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee vis-à-vis counter proposals.

“Alhaji Yari should desist from using the platform of the Nigeria Governors Forum to seek political relevance. His tactics of blackmail against workers is already time worn and the stench is already offensive.

“We hereby reiterate our directive to Nigerian workers to vote out any politician or political party that refuses to pay the new national minimum wage of N30,000. We shall continue to consolidate our efforts to strengthen already existing platforms and structures to give teeth to our resolve to vote out anti-labour governors and politicians in the forthcoming 2019 general election.

Governors say states cannot pay the new wage because they do not have the capacity to. They are requesting that:workforce size should be cut; and revenue allocation should be revisited.

Though the income of states varies, is it true that most states in the country cannot afford N30,000 minimum wage?

Please share your views in the comment section.

 

Governors Threaten To Sack Workers If N30,000 Minimum Wage Comes To Fruition

So now, state governors are thinking on agreeing the 30,000 naira minimum wage demand by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), but they have another plan – to sack some civil servant.

The governors at their emergency meeting in Abuja on Wednesday night, asked the Federal Government to also accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who read the communiqué after the meeting, said that a new committee would be raised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue.

He said the committee would work out another formula towards quickly resolving the problem associated with the proposed minimum wage.

Yari said, “Following a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum where we deliberated on the national minimum wage, governors resolved to re-strategise and put together another committee to meet with the President once again, to work out another formula towards quickly resolving the problem associated with the proposed N30.000 minimum wage which is impracticable unless labour agrees to a downsizing of the workforce all over the country or the Federal Government itself accedes to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.

“Members of the committee who were nominated to see the President include the governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi. Enugu and Kaduna.”

The federation account is currently being managed on a legal framework that allows funds to be shared under three major components – statutory allocation, Value Added Tax distribution; and allocation made under the derivation principle.

Under statutory allocation, the Federal Government gets 52.68 per cent of the revenue shared; states, 26.72 per cent; and local governments, 20.60 per cent.

The framework also provides that Value Added Tax revenue be shared thus; FG, 15 per cent; states, 50 per cent; and LGs, 35 per cent.

Similarly, extra allocation is given to the oil producing states based on the 13 per cent derivation principle.

Yari said that he and his colleagues had seen the report of the Tripartite Committee report presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The committee, which is headed by Amal Pepple, recommended N30, 000 as minimum wage.

Though the President received the report, he however said that he was still studying it.

Yari said that the committee did not consider the submission of the governors who had earlier said they could only afford to pay N22, 500 as minimum wage.

He said, “We have seen what has been presented to the President by the (Tripartite) Committee.

“As a member of the committee, our representative there said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late.

“I am surprised. How can you do this without the input of the states because the states are the key stakeholders in this business.

“So, a situation whereby our report was not taken or considered by the Tripartite Committee … then I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.”

He regretted that while the governors would want to pay, they would not be able to do so due to meagre resources available to them.

He said “But we still say we want to pay, but the issue is the ability to pay.

“If we say no, it is not about the ability to pay, just pay, I don’t know how this formula will work and I don’t know how we can get a solution to the issue.

“We are paying N18,000 (as minimum wage today), but when the President assumed office, about 27 states were not able to pay, not that they chose not to pay.

“So, now you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt (if we pay). So as Nigerians, we should look at the issues seriously.

“While other people are saying that governors are riding jets and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory.

“Like Lagos that is paying about N7bn as salaries; if you say it should pay N30,000, now it will be N13bn.

“From our calculation, it is only Lagos State that will be able to pay N30,000. As Nigerians, this is our country; there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

He said governors would continue to dialogue with workers on the need for them (the workers) to see the difficulties they (governors) were facing.

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Nigeria will be in trouble if new minimum wage is implemented- Governors

Governors of the 36 states of the Federation to exercise caution and patriotism in their demand for an increment in wages stressing that if such is implemented, it could lead to the states going bankrupt.

State governors Wednesday rose from their meeting in Abuja and restated their inability to pay the N30,000 new minimum wage recommended by the National Minimum Wage Committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to review the N18,000 figure, which organised labour said had become inadequate and legally outdated.

They said the states would go bankrupt if forced to pay the new wage, warning that it might lead to retrenchment of workers. In the alternative, they proposed that the federal government shed some of its revenue in favour of the states so they could be able to absorb the financial implication of the impending increased wage bill.

But labour would have none of it as it said last night that any governor, who could not afford the new figure, should resign or risk an industrial action.

The governors, under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at their meeting last night in Abuja, frowned on the action of the tripartite committee, which it said failed to include their N22,500 submission in the final report sent to the president. As a way forward, the governors raised a committee made up of eight of their colleagues to meet the president to further discuss the issue.

Members of the committee, nominated to see the president include, the governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kaduna States.

Addressing journalists after their meeting last night in Abuja, Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of NGF, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, said asking states to pay N30,000 was impracticable unless labour would agree to a downsizing of the work-force all over the country or the federal government itself accedes to the review of the national revenue allocation formula.

Yari said the governors were not happy that their offer of N22,500 as new minimum wage was not factored into the final report the tripartite committee submitted to Buhari.

He said, “With N18,000, when the president assumed office about 27 states were not able to pay, not that they choose not to pay. So now you say N30,000, how many of them can pay. We will be bankrupt. So as Nigerians, we should look at the issues seriously.”

Yari said that a member of the committee and Governor of Kebbi, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, had informed the governors that the committee did not take their submission of N22,500 because it came late.

“I am surprised, how can you do this without the input of the states? The states are the key stakeholders in this business. So, a situation whereby our report is not taken or considered by the tripartite committee to present to the president then I don’t know how the committee wants us to work,” he said.

The Zamfara State governor also countered the insinuation that some governors were flying jets and living in affluence while complaining about poor revenue, saying that the governors’ actions are driven by necessity rather than bogus lifestyle.

 

Yari, who was flanked by Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, their Benue State counterpart, Dr. Samuel Ortom, said as things stood, only Lagos State could afford to pay the N30,000 being requested.

He said, “But we still say we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. If you say no, it is not about the ability to pay, just pay, I don’t know how this formula will work and I don’t know how we can get solution to the problem.

“The issue of government overhead cost put together with personnel cost cannot solve this problem. Like Lagos that is paying about N7billion as salaries, if you say it should pay N30,000 now, it will be N13 billion. From our calculation, it is only Lagos State that will be able to pay N30,000.

“As Nigerians, this is our country, there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

As for the way forward, Yari said the governors would continue to talk with labour, to let them see reasons why the states have difficulties.

He said the states have submitted their audited accounts to the tripartite committee to guide them in their negotiations with labour.

“Some of us have Internally Generated Revenue (IGR.). For instance, the money Lagos State is using to pay is not coming from Abuja. They have a way of getting their money from the IGR and that is why they can afford to pay. They get money through VAT. Apart from Lagos, even Rivers State cannot afford to pay. We have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen.

“One critical example is that some states ration their salaries while some others put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see and ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel cost. Some say 70 per cent for personnel cost and 30 per cent for capital projects and yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.

If you are talking about oil, the price is not what it used to be today, from last year to date, it is 20 dollar less from $75 to $55. So where is the money to pay?”

If You Can’t Pay Minimum Wage Resign, Labour Tells Governors Organised labour reacted swiftly last night, saying any governor that could not pay should resign.

While reacting to governors’ insistence that states cannot pay more than the N22,500 they offered, the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress ((NLC), Mr. Peter Essom, said the workers will not accept a renegotiation of the amount agreed at tripartite talks.

Essom, who spoke to THISDAY last night on telephone shortly after the governors made their positions known, said the only firm engagement labour will like to have with the state governors will be after the proclamation of the new minimum wage.

According to Essom, what workers are after is to have a minimum wage that takes care of basic needs. He said that as soon as government proclaims the N30,000 minimum wage, the organised labour will move in to engage various state governments on the implementation.

The NLC scribe said, “What we are dealing with now is the issue of minimum wage and we stand by the N30,000, which is at the lowest fringe of what the workers need to meet the cost of providing service and still maintain some semblance of living. The tripartite negotiations are three legged structure, government, labour and private sector and state governors are part of the government team.

“The question of renegotiation does not arise. We will, of course after the promulgation of the minimum wage law, engage each state governor as to implementation. Those governors that feel that they are incapable of paying the wage, there are options; one of the governors has said that he would rather resign. We call on those governors not willing to implement the new minimum wage to so do, and resign.”

The governors have been opposed to the N30,000 demanded by the organised labour from the start, however, it is true that most Nigerian states cannot afford the labour’s demands?

Please share your views in the comment section.

 

Minimum Wage: See What State Governors Resolved To Do

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum says it will re-strategize and dialogue with President Muhammadu Buhari on the issues associated with the proposed N30, 000 minimum wage.

To drive the process, the forum has constituted a committee to meet the president to work out a formula to quickly resolve the issues.

Chairman of the forum and Governor of Zamfara, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Yari, told newsmen at the end of an emergency meeting of the governors on Wednesday in Abuja that payment of N30, 000 wage was impracticable.

Yari, however, said the proposed wage would be paid if labour would agree to downsizing of the workforce across the country “or Federal Government itself accedes to the review of the national revenue allocation formula”.

He listed members of the committee to interface with the Presidency as governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Plateau, Bauchi, Akwa |bom, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kaduna.

Yari alleged that the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage did not include governors submission of N22, 500 in its proposal to Buhari “because it said that the governors’ decision came late”.

“Situation where our report was not taken or considered by the tripartite committee in the presentation to the president, then, I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.

“We still said that we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. If we say no, just pay, I don’t know how this formula will work and I don’t know how we can get solution to the issue.

“Today it is N18, 000. In 2015 when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay, not that they chose not to pay.

“Now you say N30, 000, how many of us can pay? We will be bankrupt.

“So as Nigerians, we should look at the issues seriously,” he said.

Yari said that if the minimum wage was pegged at N30, 000, only Lagos would be able to pay its workers.

“Like Lagos that is paying about N7 billion as salaries now, if you say it should start paying N30, 000 the cost of salary will be N13 billion. “From our calculation, it is only Lagos state that will be able to pay 30,000.

“As Nigerians, this is our country, there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

He added that it was the same labour leadership pushing for N30, 000 that would turn around to say that governors did not build any infrastructure “and how are we going to achieve that by paying only salaries.”

On way forward, Yari said that the governors would continue to talk with labour leaders to let them see reasons why the governors have difficulties in paying the proposed wage.

“Apart from Lagos, even Rivers cannot pay. So, we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen.

“One critical example is that some states ration their salaries while some others put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see and ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel cost.

“Some say 70 per cent for personnel cost and 30 per cent for capital projects and yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.”

On submission of states audited account, Yari said that the account was submitted to the committee, adding that “we are going to use the report of the audited committee to make further presentation.”

He disclosed that the governors also discussed the issue of Tax for Health services and had a presentation on human capital.

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Is Nigeria’s new minimum wage too much to ask?

On the campaign trail for re-election in February, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari may have spoken too soon when he backed an initiative to hike his country’s minimum wage by a whopping two thirds.

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Buhari, who had been advised on the wage by a negotiating committee made up of union representatives, the government and the private sector, praised the “patriotic and professional” members.

The recommendation to hike the minimum wage to $82 from $49 was “realistic, fair and implementable” and would be studied by the executive “within the shortest possible time”, before being returned to parliament for final approval, he said.

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The unspoken agreement was that Nigeria’s unions, which had threatened to paralyse Africa’s largest economy of more than 180 million people with a massive, open-ended strike, would deliver their members’ vote to Buhari in a presidential poll set for February 2019 in return for the pay hike.

But the very next day the information minister poured cold water on the idea, claiming that the Nigerian government had in no way acceded to the $82 demand and said this “recommendation should first be studied”.

Standing in the way of Buhari’s strategy to win the popular vote with the wage promise are the 36 state governors who say they are already struggling to pay civil servants and public officials with the current wage.

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David Umahi, governor of southeast Ebonyi state, warned this week that the $82 minimum wage for public servants couldn’t work.

“Many states are experiencing various problems and cannot pay salaries,” he told reporters after Buhari’s remarks.

 ‘Sensible compromise’ 

Even if it went through, a higher wage would still be modest given that a 25kg bag of rice costs nearly $27.

“It is very low considering the cost of living,” Charlie Robertson, Renaissance Capital economist and Nigeria specialist, told AFP.

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But attempting to do more would be unrealistic because Nigerian businesses already have high overheads, and many workers are unqualified, making a pay hike hard to justify, he said.

Nigeria’s patchy power supply is another factor undermining the competitiveness of businesses, and therefore their margin for any wage increase.

“Nigeria’s difficulty on the minimum wage is that because its electricity, literacy are less than most countries, its wages must be less too. Or it will attract no foreign investments,” Robertson said. ” $82 is a sensible compromise but still debatable.”

Ivory Coast, for example, has a higher minimum wage than Nigeria but its good energy network still allows it to stay competitive with its West Africa neighbours.

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In contrast, electricity is almost non-existent in most of Nigeria and the literacy level of the adult population is close to 60%, a number that falls to less than 50% in the predominantly Muslim north.

 Staggering inequality 

Nevertheless, it will be hard to explain to voters that Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil exporter producing more than two million barrels per day can neither afford a modest minimum wage for its civil servants nor provide a decent level of education and infrastructure to attract investors.

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Several months ago, a senator caused a scandal by revealing lawmakers’ salaries: $39 148 a month with bonuses, making it one of the highest salaries of politicians in the world.

At $82, it would take 35 years for a Nigerian worker to earn what deputies make in a month, and 68 years at the current minimum wage level of $27.

Life expectancy in Nigeria is barely above 53.

There is hardly a better reflection of the staggering inequality in Nigerian society.

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On the eve of a presidential election and after two years of painful recession beginning in 2016, voters are demanding accountability.

“Where are you going to find the money to pay the salaries?” asked Gbenga Omotoso, a columnist in the normally pro-government newspaper The Nation.

“Reduce these outrageous wages, force the rich to pay their taxes, pursue the corrupt and engage the economy in a real program of diversification.”

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NLC Strike: Labour leaders gives Buhari December deadline on minimum wage

The organised Labour have issued a December deadline to the Federal Government on the implementation of the new minimum wage.

Labour leaders on Tuesday gave December as deadline for the full implementation of the N30,000 new national minimum wage.

They also warned that any reduction in the N30,000 agreed by the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage as contained in a report to President Muhammadu Buhari or any further delay in its passage could have negative consequences.

According to Daily Trust newspapers, the President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and the Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN), Bashir Lawal, gave the warning at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the ASCSN in Abuja.

The unions said Nigerian workers patiently await President Muhammadu Buhari to forward an executive bill on the minimum wage to the National Assembly for passage into law

Meanwhile, Mr Kaigama, who is also the National President of ASCSN, said the expectation of labour is that the full implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage should not exceed December.

“It is on this premise that I strongly want to appeal to the federal government to fast track the process of enacting the new National Minimum Wage into law,” he said, adding that government should be able to complete the entire process before the end of this.

The TUC president also regretted that the core civil service, which is the engine room of government is the least paid in the Public Service, with other segments having their emoluments beefed up over the years.

The Secretary General ASCSN, Bashir Lawal, said they were holding President Buhari to his words that he would send the report submitted to him to the National Assembly.

The unions are demanding N30,000 as minimum wage insisting the amount had been agreed at a triparite meeting involving them, the government and private employers of labour.

Although President Buhari received the report of the committee, the presidency has since said Mr Buhari did not promise the N30,000 minimum wage and would have to consult on it.

Government and labour had been at loggerheads over the demand for a new minimum wage. Labour says the minimum wage of N18,000 is paltry and no longer acceptable.

Though the Senate have promised speedy passage of the new minimum wage law, do you think labour is justified for issuing this ultimatum?

Share your views in the comment section. 

Minimum Wage: Please increase our pensions too- retired Civil Servants begs Buhari

With the impending increase in the minimum wage of workers, retired employees of the Federal Government have asked that their pensions be included in the upward review of wages.

FOR Nigerian pensioners, it will be unfair for the government to approve a new minimum wage for  workers, without  doing same for retired workers who served the country meritoriously in different capacities.

They believe that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, after all everybody in the country needs money to care of his or her needs. The senior citizens operating on the aegis of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, pleaded with the Federal Government to make provision for a uniformed national minimum pension as it considers the national minimum wage for workers.

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NUP agitation is on the wake of the submission of the Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee report to President Muhammadu Buhari last week. The committee headed by the former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Ms Ama Pepple had recommended N30,000 as the new minimum wage. Briefing in Abuja, the pensioners said a national minimum pension had become imperative following the current economic reality in the country as some retired workers who received a paltry  N1,000  could no longer take care of their families.

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According to the NUP President, Dr. Abel Afolayan  flanked by the National Secretary of Federal Civil Service Pensioners, Christian Azunna, senior citizens who had served the country meritoriously deserved respect and honour. Afolayan said, “The main thrust of this press conference is on the need to press for the consideration and approval of the National Minimum Pension for Pensioners by the federal government alongside the ongoing negotiation for the approval and implementation of a National Minimum Wage for Nigerian workers.

“Suffice it to say our request is in line with the provisions of section 173 (3) and 210 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which unambiguously states that ‘pension shall be reviewed every five years or together with any Federal Civil Service salary reviews, whichever is earlier’.

“The last pension review was in July 2010. The next one in line with the provision of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) was due in July 2015. “Despite our efforts and submissions, nothing has been done in compliance with the above constitutional provisions. This is the reason why the union has been very vocal and unrelenting in restating its position on the call and demand for a new minimum pension alongside the ongoing negotiation for a new minimum wage which by all indications will soon be implemented by the federal government.

“It is therefore our humble request, in accordance with the above constitutional provisions that a uniformed national minimum pension be approved for Nigerian pensioners to be the same as any minimum wage. “In other words, whatever amount is approved as minimum wage for workers should also apply as minimum pension for pensioners. We believe that whatever is good for the goose is also good for the gander as both workers and pensioners go to the same market for their daily needs.

“With the present economic situation in the country, it is unacceptable and in fact, inhuman for a pensioner to earn less than N30, 000 which is not even enough to cater for his needs.” Apart from the call for a new pension wage, the senior citizens also lamented nonpayment of the balance of 12 months arrears of the 33 percent pension increase of 2010, saying  many beneficiaries of the pension increase had died.

Dr. Afolayan said, “Needless to say the payment of the balance of these arrears is long overdue. We had made several submissions and appeals at different fora to the federal government through PTAD for this payment but to no avail. “The leadership of the union therefore can no longer contain the anger of its members who have been spoiling for a show down with the federal government over the nonpayment. “Consequently, and having been pushed to the wall, we are compelled to issue a 21-day ultimatum to PTAD in compliance with the extant labour laws after which if no payment is made, Pensioners would embark on a protest to picket PTAD and other relevant offices connected with this payment.”

The government should look into the issue of pensions and see how it can be better managed, but should the current pay of retired Civil Servants be reviewed?

Please Share your views in the comment section.

 

Minimum Wage: Saraki to the rescue! Senate promise speedy passage of new wage bill

The Senate has promised the quick passage of the new minimum wage bill when it is presented for passage by the executive.

The Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, has assured Nigerians that the upper legislative chamber would ensure the speedy passage of the National Minimum Wage Bill if forwarded to it on time by President Muhammadu  Buhari.

Buhari had last week assured Nigerians that the necessary machinery was being put in place to transmit an executive bill to the National Assembly on the N30,000 new minimum wage package negotiated by a tripartite committee comprising government and labour.

Also, the Chairperson of the tripartite committee, Ms Ama Pepple, said last week that the enactment of the draft bill into law was critical to the operation and future reviews of the minimum wage.

Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, in a statement last week, also said that Buhari would not decide the new figure of national minimum wage until the National Assembly approved an amount.

Murray-Bruce, who spoke with our correspondent on Monday, said the red chamber was eager to work on the document and ensure that its implementation would start next year, if the executive sent it on time.

He said, “The Senate will ensure the speedy passage of the National Minimum wage if the executive sends it to the National Assembly before the 2019 appropriation bill is presented by President Muhammadu Buhari for necessary consideration.

“We are concerned about the common man. We are concerned about the plight of Nigerian workers and we are prepared to do everything possible to help the people of Nigeria.

“It is the responsibility of the executive to provide adequate resources to ensure payment of the minimum wage. Our duty is to ensure that we pass the bill so that the implementation of the new minimum wage would be accommodated in the 2019 budget.

“It could still be part of the 2019 budget if the executive sends in the bill on time.”

 

The organised labour had suspended a planned nationwide strike last week Tuesday after the Amma Pepple-led committee agreed to its demand of N30,000.

While receiving the report, President Buhari said another committee would review the recommendation before a final figure is sent as an executive bill to the National Assembly.

Hope with the impending passage of the new minimum wage, the country will finally avoid the cloud of strike action.

Let us know your opinion in the comment section.