Minimum wage: FG, labour to meet on Sept. 16

#TrackNigeria: Negotiation between the Federal Government and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) on the new minimum wage has again rescheduled for Sept. 16.

The last negotiation between the government and the JNPSNC was to hold on Sept. 4, but was suspended.

Mr Alade Lawal, JNPSN Secretary General, confirmed to NAN on Tuesday in Lagos that the meeting was rescheduled at the instance of the officials.

The organised labour and the Federal Government have been in conflict over the implementation of the new minimum wage which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18.

Negotiation between the government and the JNPSNC, representing labour in the technical committee set up to negotiate the consequential adjustment of workers’ salaries as a result of the new minimum wage, had broken down due to unresolved differences in their proposals.

While the Federal Government proposed 9.5 per cent salary increase for employees on grade levels 07 to 14 and five per cent for those on grade levels 15 to 17, labour is demanding 30 per cent increase for officers on grade levels 07 to 14 and 25 per cent increase for grade levels 15 to 17.

President of  the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, had told journalists that the congress would support any position taken by the JNPSN on the new national minimum wage. (NAN)

100 days: Gov Sule promises to pay N30, 000 minimum wage

Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has promised to pay the N30, 000 minimum wage once a template for consequential adjustment is agreed on.

The governor made the promise on Friday in Lafia while giving account of stewardship of his first 100 days in office.

According to him, the state government under his administration will pay the new minimum wage because it has become a law in the country.

“As soon as the template for the consequential adjustment is agreed on at the federal level, we would also commence the process for the implementation in the state.

“If we rush now, we might make avoidable mistakes, so it is wise to wait for the template,” Sule said.

The governor also said he had directed the Teachers Service Commission to convert more than 2, 000 teachers that were hitherto on casual appointment to permanent employees.

He said that in the next one week, the teachers would start collecting their appointment letters and be given proper placement in line with their qualifications.

The governor also promised that the government would put machinery in place to commence  promotion of civil servants to their morale. (NAN)

Minimum wage: NLC rejects deliberate delay, demands immediate implementation

The National Executive Council (NEC) of NLC has rejected the delay by the Federal Government to commence implementation of the New National minimum wage.

NLC President, Dr Ayuba Wabba, and its immediate past General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, who jointly signed the communiqué, at the end of its meeting in Kano, called for the immediate implementation effective from the day the Minimum Wage was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the new minimum wage bill, which was signed into law by the president in April, had been stalled over the issue of relativity and consequential adjustment of salaries following deliberations between government and labour.

“The NEC noted with dismay the continued delay by the Federal Government and other tiers of government to implement the new national minimum wage of N30, 000 as recently enacted.

“The NEC emphatically posited that the government can no longer hide under protracted negotiations with workers in the public sector for consequential salary adjustment based on the new national minimum wage to delay the implementation of the new national minimum wage.

“After very vigorous deliberation on the need to immediately implement the national minimum wage, the NEC insists that the payment of the new national minimum wage should commence immediately.’’

On challenges of insecurity, the NEC said that there had been increase in the wave of insecurity in the country, especially due to resurgence in kidnapping for ransom and armed robbery, communal clashes and Boko Haram attacks.

The NEC expressed alarm at the recent confessions of a recently arrested bandit who allegedly disclosed that helicopters drop weapons for criminals, thus suggesting possible collusion between criminal elements and big-time financiers of criminality.

“The NEC also expressed worries over recent upsurge in attacks by Boko Haram terrorists who recently attacked three local governments of Gubio, Magumeri and Konduga in Borno North and the villages of Dille, Lassa, Ngurthlavu, Dagu, Yaffa, Maikadiri, and Kidlindila in Askira/Uba local government area of Borno South.

According to the communiqué, most of the victims of the renewed security breaches in the country are workers and poor citizens, noting with alarm the impact of the rising wave of criminality on the lives of citizens and the socio-economic conditions in the country.

It reiterated that the primary responsibility of government was the security of lives and property, calling on government at all levels to improve in the quality and quantity of policing deployed for the security of citizens and property.

It noted that the NLC had resolved to convene a National Security Summit to dispassionately engage the current challenge of insecurity in Nigeria and proffer sustainable solutions.

NLC said that to this effect, rallies would hold across the country to sensitise government and citizens on the need to address insecurity.

It called on government to further empower the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to prevail upon DISCOs to scrap the practice of estimated billings, enforce relevant laws and guidelines outlawing estimated billings and immediately deploy pre-paid meters to electricity consumers all over the country.

“This would be in line with earlier deadlines given by NERC to DISCOs to supply pre-paid meters to electricity consumers in the country; and

“While rejecting further hike in electricity tariff, the NEC called on the government to make electricity available and affordable.

“It was the conviction of the NEC that continuous hike in electricity tariff and persistent power outages present huge financial burden for businesses thus making goods and services produced in Nigeria not to be competitive as goods cum services produced elsewhere.’’

On the national economy, the NEC also urged government to take adequate steps to develop people oriented socio-economic policies to address endemic poverty and inequality faced by workers and citizens all over the country.

It commended the Federal Government for the executive order mandating that the uniforms used by the military and para-military services, students, prisoners and other persons required to wear uniforms be produced in Nigeria.

“It was the considered view of the NEC that such policy directives go a long way in mobilising support for locally produced goods and ensuring the competitiveness of local industries and manufacturers.’’

The NEC commended the Federal Government for robustly engaging social partners particularly organised labour and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, prior to Nigeria’s ratification of the signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA.

It urged the Federal Government to robustly negotiate and finalise the clause on “The Rule of Origin” and “Sensitive Products” to ensure that goods traded within the AfCFTA have significant local content.

“The NEC also implored government to ensure protection of identified sensitive products. This is in order to pre-empt turning Nigeria into a dumping ground.

“We encourage sister trade union centres in Africa to robustly engage their governments on AfCFTA implementation to protect the interest of workers and local economies in the continent.’’

On protection of Civil Liberties including Right to Peaceful Protests, the NEC reiterated the traditional position of congress on the protection of fundamental human rights including the right to freedom of association and right to peaceful protest.

It however urged government security agencies to ensure respect for those rights. (NAN)

Minimum wage: NCP begs FG to reach agreement with labour

The National Conscience Party (NCP) has urged the Federal Government to do its best to speedily resolve all issues delaying the implementation of N30,000 minimum wage.

The Lagos State Chairman of the party, Mr Fatai Ibuowo, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday.

He said workers had endured enough hardship owing to the prevailing economic realities, saying that implementation of the new minimum wage would give them some succour.

“We are appealing to the Federal Government to do its best to implement the N30,000 minimum wage.

“Nigerian workers have faced a lot of hardship because of high costs of goods and services and so cannot wait to be paid the new wage.

“We are aware that there are issues between labour and government on what to pay as increment to those on certain levels,’’ Ibuowo said.

According to him, we must emphasise that all categories of workers deserve substantial wage increments in view of the present economic realities.

Ibuowo implored the government to arrive at a middle ground with labour and speedily implement the Minimum Wage Act, signed in April to better the lots of workers.

He noted that in a country where lawmakers earned what he called “astronomically-high wages and allowances’’, it was unfair not to pay workers a living wage.

The NCP Chairman pointed out that the new N30,000 minimum wage, though better than the earlier N18,000, was still one of the lowest in the world .

Ibuowo said insecurity and corruption were major problems in the country, saying the issues could be addressed through improvement in workers’ welfare.

“Insecurity and corruption are two of the major problems facing our country now and we think by improving the welfare of workers, we can substantially address the problem.

“Some people get into crime because the peanuts they are paid cannot pay their bills. So they look for a way out and get involved in all sorts of negative things.

“Corruption and insecurity are addressed in other climes proactively. When we reward workers adequately, we are reducing poverty and when poverty is reduced, crime is reduced,’’ he said.

Ibuowo also faulted the conduct of council elections by state electoral commissions, saying the practice undermined democracy at the grassroots.

He said state governments used their electoral commissions to rig council elections, calling for steps to replace State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for better grassroots elections. (NAN).

Minimum wage delay: Nigerian workers unfairly treated- Oshiomhole says

 The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has called on organised labour to challenge political leaders to ensure that state resources meet the needs of workers and other Nigerians.

Oshiomhole made the call  in Abuja at a reception in honour of the Director General, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr Guy Ryder.

Oshiomhole expressed concern over non-chalant attitude of leaders towards improving the lives of Nigerian workers, and said the organised labour must adopt aggressive engagements to change the status quo.

“We have to do things differently about minimum wage,” he said, noting that whereas prices of goods and services had gone up astronomically in the country, workers wages have remained static.

“So if every other costs are changing, and labour cost is constant…, somebody is being squeezed.

“Rising crises, stagnant wages, a very miserable lifestyle, and you have to fight for that.

“And we now see in Nigeria the difference between signing an agreement and the challenge of translating those laws, and even the contradiction of signing laws first before getting consultants to tell us how to implement these laws.

“Just to tell you that from inside, I am much more convinced that unions should not only exist, but should have the capacity and ruthlessly deploy that capacity to ensure that the resources of states are dissipated in favour of working people and working families,” the former NLC president said.

While commending the ILO for its focus on Youth Employment and Social Justice, Oshiomhole said focus should also be on ageing population and under employment of young persons.

He said Nigeria ought to do something about it’s population growth which was at 3 per cent annually, as against 2 percent national economic growth.

“With population at 3 per cent, poverty must be endemic, it is not rocket science, so we so need to have conversations on various aspects of society, particularly at what we do differently to get the youth busy.”

He urged young people to collaborate to fight poverty by pushing those in government to create the environment for them to think and change the narratives.

Earlier, the ILO DG, Mr Guy Ryder, said Nigeria trade union movements have made great impact in defence of basic fundamental rights in line with the provisions of the organisation.

According to him, the organised labour has also played extraordinary role in building the nation’s democracy, saying the consistency was in line with the fundamental values of the ILO.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, commended the ILO for the privilege given to Nigeria to host the Global Youth Employment Forum.

“It is also important in all jurisdictions that without the issue of standards, certainly workers organizations will have nothing to celebrate.”

Wabba noted that the rights of workers to belong to trade unions and engage in collective bargaining has put workers and employers on the same pedestal.

“The most profound challenge of the world of work lately was insecurity, uncertainties and impact of technology

“Technology has made jobs threatened; decent jobs should be at the centre of all economic policies, because human beings are at the centre of every development.”

Wabba said NLC would continue to seek ILO’s support for capacity building and intervention for Nigeria to be at par with its counterparts, pledging more commitment to the values of social dialogue on minimum wage and other issues affecting Nigerian workers. (NAN)