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Pensioners Task Governors on Review, Gratuities

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From Mohammed Muktar UMAR Bauchi

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has appealed to state governors to settle outstanding gratuities owed to its members and to review pension after every five years or where there is increase in the salaries of civil servants with a view to improving their plights.

National Vice President, north east zone of the union Alhaji Muhammad Inuwa Ahmad made the appeal in a press release issued to Journalists Monday in Bauchi where he said that pensioners who rendered selfless services to their states and country need to be well treated by the government.

” As elderly citizens, pensioners remained focused on the major political promises done by their respective leaders most especially governors  during the recent general elections.

Though, it is our civic right to be part of the  juicy  democratic system, we emanate confidence on major of their promises, as known to all and sundry, our prayers are settlement of all gratuity and pension arrears and upward review of monthly pension every five years or where there is increase in salary and wages to civil servants whichever comes earlier.”

” The issue of gratuity and pension arrears has started to move a step forward in many of the north eastern states, as the Bauchi state government under Bala Mohammed has placed his positive giant strides on the Bauchi state pensioners, 100 million naira was duly paid on august and subsequently 200 million naira was also paid on september 2019 to both local government and state pensioners with confined expectations of getting higher than the previous payments every month”.

” Governor Babagana Umar Zulum of Borno state has also made good attempt by paying  one billion naira on july/ August to the Borno state pensioners , thus, this implies his kind  acts toward addressing pensioners’ plight.”

” In the same vein, Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe state has paid one billion and one hundred Million to state pensioners which we hope the same to the local government pensioners, and there is a reliable hope that more will be paid in subsequent months, for which we are thankful.

” In another development, Governor Mai- Mala Buni of yobe state has paid six hundred Million to settle the backlog of gratuity, hence he has been a good succesor of Governor Gaidam which Nigerian pensioners recommend him to be their most friendly governor.” The statement reads.

While thanking the aforementioned governors for reducing gratuity debts in their states, Ahmad however, lamented that Adamawa and Taraba states pensioners were still not paid their gratuities hoping that the governors would act on that soonest.

” Lastly, we are calling on government at all levels to frame a reliable blueprint for the development of the teeming Nigerian pensioners. Thus, this will be done by upward review of monthly pension as many pensioners in Nigeria receive as low as N3,000 , hence we will not remain on our toes untill section 173(3) and section 210 of the 1999 constitution as amended which states that “pension must be reviewed every five years or together with any increase in civil servants salary whichever comes earlier” is being immediately put in place,” he said.


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Minimum Wage: Labour Rules Out Strike, Awaits Tinubu’s Nod

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By David Torough, Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has ruled out strike action earlier scheduled for Tuesday (today) to demand a new national minimum wage.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, made this known yesterday during the ongoing International Labour Conference taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ajaero said organised labour cannot embark on strike today because the figures presented by the tripartite committee on minimum wage were with President Bola Tinubu.

He clarified that the submission of N62,000 as proposed by the government and the organized employers’ body with labour proposing N250,000 does not translate to labour accepting N62,000 as the new minimum wage.

“The tripartite committee submitted two figures to the President. Government and employers proposed N62,000 while labour proposed N250,00o. We are waiting for the decision of the President. Our National Executive Council (NEC) will deliberate on the new figure when it is out.

“We cannot declare a strike now because the figures are with the President. We will wait for the President’s decision.

“During the tenure of the immediate past President, the figure that was proposed to him was N27,000 by the tripartite committee but he increased it to N30,000. We are hopeful that this President will do the right thing. The President had noted that the difference between N62,000 and N250,000 is a wide gulf,” he said.

The NLC president also berated state governors under the umbrella body of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum for rejecting the N62,000 minimum wage proposal.

“How can any governor say he cannot pay? They cannot also be calling for the decentralization of the minimum wage.

“Are there wages decentralized? Governors whose states are not contributing a dime to the national purse and who generate pitiable Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) are collecting the same amount as governors whose states are generating billions of dollars into the FAAC.

“They should decentralize their salaries and emoluments first.

“So, where is the governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki getting his money from? He is paying N70,000 minimum wage. This is the type of governor that should be emulated and not the lazy ones,” he added.

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Labour Suspends Strike over Minimum Wage for One Week

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By David Torough, Abuja

The Organised Labour yesterday suspended its ongoing indefinite strike action for one week over a new national minimum wage and reversal of the recent electricity tariff hike.

A joint National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of both Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) has approved to relax the industrial action for one week with immediate effect.

It was gathered that the development followed a tentative agreement reached between the Federal Government and the Organised Labour on the new national minimum wage on Monday night with a resolution to further engage daily for the next one week at the level of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage until a final agreement is reached.

The Federal Government had assured the Labour leaders that President Bola Tinubu was committed to paying a new monthly minimum wage above the initial offer of N60,000.

This was disclosed late Monday night at the end of a marathon meeting convened by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, in furtherance to the negotiation by the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage (NMW) and subsequent withdrawal of the Organised Labour from the negotiation table.

Members of the NLC and TUC earlier on Monday embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike to press home their demands for a new national minimum wage and reversal of the recent electricity tariff hike, a development that paralysed activities in both public and private sectors across the country.

In a statement issued at the end of the meeting endorsed by the Ministers of Information and that of Labour and Employment, Mohammed Idris and Nkiruka Onyejeocha, respectively, on the part of the Federal Government, and NLC and TUC Presidents, Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo, respectively, on the part of the Organised Labour, the meeting agreed on a four-point resolutions as a pathway to ending the ongoing industrial dispute.

“The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria is committed to a National Minimum Wage that is higher than N60,000;

“Arising from the above, the Tripartite Committee is to meet every day for the next one week with a view to arriving at an agreeable National Minimum Wage;

“Labour in deference to the high esteem of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria’s commitment in (ii) above undertakes to convene a meeting of its organs immediately to consider this commitment; and

“No worker would be victimised as a result of the industrial action,” the resolutions read.

In a statement issued at the end of the meeting endorsed by the Ministers of Information and that of Labour and Employment, Mohammed Idris and Nkiruka Onyejeocha, respectively, on the part of the Federal Government, and NLC and TUC Presidents, Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo, respectively, on the part of the Organised Labour, the meeting agreed on a four-point resolutions as a pathway to ending the ongoing industrial dispute.

“The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria is committed to a National Minimum Wage that is higher than N60,000;

“Arising from the above, the Tripartite Committee is to meet every day for the next one week with a view to arriving at an agreeable National Minimum Wage;

“Labour in deference to the high esteem of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria’s commitment in (ii) above undertakes to convene a meeting of its organs immediately to consider this commitment; and

“No worker would be victimised as a result of the industrial action,” the resolutions read.

Tinubu Gives Finance Minister 48 Hours to Present New Minimum Wage Template

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has directed the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, to come up with the cost Implications on the new minimum wage within two days.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, made this known while briefing State House Correspondents after a meeting the negotiation team had with the president at Aso Rock, yesterday.

“All parties to the negotiation of the new minimum wage would work together with the organised labour to present a new minimum wage for Nigerians in one week.

“All of us will work together assiduously within the next one week to ensure that we have a new wage for Nigeria that is acceptable, sustainable and also realistic.”

Idris also disclosed that the President had given a marching order that all those who have negotiated on behalf of the Federal government and all those who are representatives of organised private sectors, the sub nationals to come together to have a new wage award that is affordable, sustainable and realistic for Nigerians

The minister said Tinubu was committed to accepting the resolutions of the tripartite committee on the new minimum wage.

“We were all there to look at all issues, and the president has directed the minister of finance to do the numbers and get back to him between today and tomorrow so that we can have figures ready for negotiation with labour. Let me say that the president is determined to go with what the committee has said, and he’s also looking at the welfare of Nigerians.

“The government is not an opponent of labour discussions or wage increases.”

The minister said the president directed that the committee should work together to give Nigerians an “affordable, sustainable, and realistic” minimum wage.

“All of us will work together assiduously within the next one week to ensure that we have a new wage for Nigeria that is acceptable, sustainable, and also realistic,” he said.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, had summoned labour leaders to an emergency meeting after the strike which crippled economic activities on Monday.

At the end of the meeting, it was announced that the Federal Government had offered to pay higher than N60,000 minimum wage.

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Energy and Power

Oil, Electricity Workers’ Unions Mobilise for Planned Strike

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The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has directed its members to comply with the directive of the two labour centres to begin an indefinite nationwide strike on Monday.

Its General Secretary, Mr Afolabi Olawale, in a statement on Saturday, said the union was committed to ensuring total compliance with the directive.

Recall that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) declared an indefinite nationwide strike to begin on Monday, to express their grievances over the proposed new minimum wage.

.

In a joint statement signed by NLC President, Mr Joe Ajaero and TUC President, Mr Festus Osifo, the centres declared the strike over the tripartite committee’s inability to agree on a new minimum wage and the hike in electricity tariff.

Afolabi said the union was concerned and disturbed with the insensitive attitude of the federal government “to the very critical issue of negotiating a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers”.

“This is in view of the various socio- economic policies of this administration that have impoverished the working people of this country.

“Leaders of our great union at all levels, from the units, zones and branches, should immediately put all processes in place to ensure total compliance with this directive.”

Also, the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) said it was mobilising its members to embark on the strike following the directive of NLC and TUC.

The Acting. General Secretary, Mr Dominic Igwebike, gave the directive to the members in a statement.

Igwebike said that along with the reasons of inconclusive negotiations on the minimum wage and electricity tariff hike, apartheid categorisation of Nigeria electricity consumers into bands was another, to embark on the strike.

“Given the above, all national, state, and chapter executives are requested to start the mobilisation of our members in total compliance with this directive to ensure the government does the right thing as stated above.

“The withdrawal of services becomes effective on Sunday 2nd June by 12.00 midnight, “ the union leader said. (NAN)

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