.Threatens strike in Kano over salary deduction
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has decried the delay in the sitting by the Tripartite Committee for the negotiation of the National Minimum Wage for workers in the country, since its inauguration. Acting President of NLC , Mr Kiri Mohammed , said this on Thursday in Abuja at the 11th Quadrennial Conference of the Nigeria Civil Service Union, Federal Council, with the theme: “Equipping the Union to Face the Challenges of 21st Century.”
According to him, the organised labour will no longer tolerate the delay in implementation of the National Minimum Wage for workers.“Since we had an inaugural meeting, they have not called for a meeting; it looks like there is a deliberate delay for the negotiation process.“We have not even started the negotiation process but if we meet we would modify our demand for the upward review,” he said.He disclosed that the organised Labour has demanded for the upward review of N56,000 minimum wage for workers in the country.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) have jointly proposed and presented N56,000 as the new minimum wage to the Federal Government as against the present N18,000.
He said the reason for the upward review was imperative as the present economy realities have surpassed that of two years ago.According to Mohammed, organised labour due to economy reasons then obviously demanded N56,000 as minimum wage two years ago, form Mr President and to date nothing has happened.
“For that same reasons, NLC decided to look at those reasons and see how it can be modified and we have actually decided for upward review of more than the N56,000 as minimum wage for workers.“So, the leadership of the organised labour met and decided to look at the present economy realities on the ground and our finding is that the N56, 000 is not enough.“That is why we have made a fresh submission and we have submitted it to the secretariat of the Tripartite Committee of the National Minimum Wage.“But, I am not going to tell you the actual amount because the NLC president is supposed to announce that by himself‘’, he said.He assured workers that the NLC would do everything possible to ensure that a living minimum wage was implemented for workers in the country.
He, however, commended members for their support during the recently concluded national delegated conference of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU).Earlier in his address of welcome, Mr Odebunmi Timothy, Acting Chairman of the (NCSU) Federal Council noted the minimum wage for workers was long overdue.“We are running out of patience. I am, therefore, calling on the tripartite committee to expedite action on their assignment in order to put smiles on the faces of Nigerian workers. Minimum wage delayed is minimum wage denied, ‘’he added.
Timothy, however, said that the Federal Government was yet to pay the backlog of promotion arrears owned to civil servants in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).He appealed to the government to clear the lingering issues as a matter of urgency or they would be left with no option than to use their last weapon, and call for strike.He also noted other issues as non-payment of repatriation allowance to retired officers, non-payment of first 28 days allowances, non-payment of burial expenses to the families of the deceased workers.
“We have been engaging government on these issues and it is worrisome that these payments are still pending in various MDAs, so this may be our last plea to do the needful,’’ Timothy said.He appealed to delegates to conduct themselves in order to have a hitch-free election. In another development, the NLC and two other Unions in Kano State have threatened warning strike over alleged persistent deduction of workers’ salary.The NLC Chairman in Kano, Kabiru Minjibir, disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday after a meeting with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Public Service Negotiations Council (JPSNC).
Minjibir said the consultants who were assigned the handling of salary issues in the state had been deducting workers’ salary without justification, thereby causing them unnecessary hardship.“The intended warning strike is due to the protracted inconsistencies in the payment of monthly salaries to workers by the so-called consultants engaged by government.“We noted with serious concern the unauthorised deduction of undefined amount of over N367.50 from worker monthly salaries and N168.00 from pensioners for undisclosed reason.“The government must suspend the use of consultants on salary issues latest by May 2018 and hand it over to qualified and experienced civil servants,’’ he said.
Minjibir said the unions also faulted the non-implementation of the annual salary increment of workers as well as delay in promotion of the state civil servants, Local Governments and SUBEB workers.The NLC Chairman said the unions resolved that government should put on hold the proposed deduction of monthly premium to Contributory Health care Scheme due in February 2018.He said the deduction should be put on hold until all issues of salary, documentation and access to healthcare services were completely resolved.
Minjibir also urged the government to respect its resolve to pay salary, pension on or before 25th of every monthHe said the labour unions would have no option than to “embark on a three-day warning strike after March 5”, if the issues raised were not addressed.
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