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Labour

TUC Laments Nigeria Borrowing Profile

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By Martin Paul, Abuja

President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Bobboi Kaigama, has expressed worries over increasing rate of inflation and the country’s debt profile.

At the opening of its Triennial National Delegates Conference in Abuja, Kaigama said it was a matter for regret that little efforts was being made to solve the issue.

According to him, with the country’s current debt profile still at N24.

3 trillion, efforts must be geared towards ending borrowing, and looking inwards for self-sufficiency.

“Our economy is in dire strait, regrettably, those who should manage it are not showing promising signs on how to fix it.

Nigeria’s debt profile is over N24.3 trillion, it was reported recently that government wants to borrow more.

“Borrowing in itself is not a bad thing, the issue is what do you borrow for. Countries borrow for capital projects, and not to pay salaries, if we cannot bequeath wealth to our children, why burden them with debts.’’

Kaigama said with the rate of inflation standing between 11.28 and 11.44 per cent for goods and services, there was an adverse effect on purchasing power for citizens, calling on the CBN and the federal government to ensure smooth running of the economy.

He also decried the secrecy surrounding crude oil refinery in the country, noting that adequate information should be available to Nigerians on both the internally and externally generated earnings.

He said with revenues generated from the Federal Inland Revenue service, NIPOST, NNPC, NIMASA, and those recovered by the EFCC and the ICPC, the country has no business borrowing.

The Vice Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Prof. Suleiman Mohammed, while commending the TUC and its affiliates at promoting the rights of workers, urged them to continue in unity and solidarity.

Mohammed, who delivered a lecture with the theme, `Labour and Nation Building, The Place of Labour in National Politics’’, said the role of the organised labour cannot be over flogged with an overall goal to unsettle the ruling class.

According to him, the political and elected leaders in all tiers of government have continued to use the instruments of the state to dis-empower workers, calling for more political consciousness to promote their rights.

While commending labour unions for playing monumental role in nation building, the vice chancellor said they must continue to promote industrial justice and fight for the protection of workers’ interest in all tiers of government.

He also called for the involvement of workers in policy formulation and implementation, calling for strengthened collaboration and unity to promote significant roles in checking and influencing government policies and programmes.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr Williams Alo, commended the support of the organised labour in improving lives of Nigerian workers, expressing hope that the new leadership of the union would strengthen the already existing partnership.

Alo pledged the commitment of the federal government to continue to be a dependable ally towards improving the welfare of workers and other Nigerians.

President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr Ayuba Wabba, stressed the need to address the global imbalance where more people live below poverty line in spite of the growing global wealth, saying it was more worrisome in the country.

Wabba said the role of unity of purpose cannot be overemphasised in trade unionism, saying it was only through this that workers’ demands are met.

Labour

FG Approves Pay Rise for Civil Servants 

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By Tony Obiechina  Abuja 

The Federal Government has approved 25% and 35% salary increase for civil servants across various consolidated salary structures.

In a statement by the Head of Press, National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission, Emmanuel Njoku, the increases takes effect on January 1, 2024.

The statement added that the augmentation applies to the six remaining consolidated salary structures, namely the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure, Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure, Consolidated Police Salary Structure, Consolidated Para-military Salary Structure, Consolidated Intelligence Community Salary Structure, and Consolidated Armed Forces Salary Structure.

Also approved for augmentation is the pension of retirees enrolled in the Defined Benefits Scheme within the aforementioned consolidated salary structures.

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Labour

Tribute to Chief Frank Kokori

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By Joe Ajaero

We at the Nigeria Labour Congress are deeply saddened by the passing away of Chief Frank Kokori at 80. Our hearts are with his biological  family and the NUPENG family where he was General Secretary. To them and other associates, we offer our condolences.

Chief Frank Kokori was Executive Secretary of OMPADEC which later metamorphosed into NDDC among other national appointments held by him.

He was announced as  Chairman of  the board  of  NSITF but denied that role by some of the powers that be.
He instead chaired the board of Michael Imoudou National  Institute of Labour Studies (MINILS) where he made his impact.
This was his last national assignment.

 Chief Frank Kokori will be remembered for many things but top on that list was  being among the Labour leaders that gave their all in order for our  country to have democracy.

For his  stoic and heroic struggle for the enthronement of democracy, he was arrested and detained by the military  alongside other Labour leaders  for spells  of time under inhumane conditions.

Before his arrest and detention by the Abacha -government, Kokori was in the vanguard of Labour leaders who fashioned an alliance with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) on the understanding that then Congress President, Comrade Pascal Bafyau (now of blessed memory) would be vice president to Chief Abiola. Although Chief Abiola (due to circumstances) beyond his control) did not keep that part of the bargain, organised labour gave him their generous and unflinching support. This, coupled with Chief Abiola’ s own credentials gave him coast to coast victory at the polls in the freest election in the history of the country.

Nigeria Labour Congress was similarly  in the vanguard of national resistance when the military scuttled Chief Abiola’ s election or victory. It was in execution of that resistance that Chief Kokori among other Labour leaders was  arrested and incarcerated while others were hounded out of the country. The “lucky” ones were only put on the security watch list and were routinely harassed at their homes, airports and at public functions considered by the State to be subversive. At the risk of sounding immodest, among those arrested and incarcerated at such functions at Ilorin were Comrades Joe Ajaero and Chris Uyot, Deputy General of Congress. There were several others who suffered differing indignities for fighting for democracy.

Even while some of its leaders were in detention with Chief Abiola,  Labour leaders did not give up on their struggle for enthronement of popular democracy. 

For their  “obduracy”, the organised labour paid a heavy price. The  Nigeria Labour Congress and NUPENG for instance, were  illegally dissolved by the military and their assets seized. Sole Administrators were appointed to oversee their affairs until 1999!

It is in light of this that we find it a big irony  that those who collaborated with the military yesterday while Labour was in the trenches would have the audacity to say today that Labour has no business in politics. It is a shame they are allowed to eat  their cake and have it because quite a number of them  through the roof or the back door are in government or positions of influence.  And clearly, the  dilemmna in which we have found ourselves as a people and as a nation cannot be divorced from this  syndrome of opportunism and messiah complex…same faces, same cases, same places ( Akinola Aguda).

Chief Kokori, a dogged and fearless fighter has played his role and gone, history has the next chapter. 

Meanwhile, while the wheel of history turns, we urge the federal government and the Government of Delta State to immortalise him, for what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

 Comrade Joe Ajaero is President, Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC)

      President

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Aviation

Passengers Stranded as NLC Locks Down Abuja Airport

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By Idris Umar Feta Abuja

Many air travellers were left stranded following the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, by officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday.

A combined team of NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) blocked both the entry and exit ways of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The protest was part of the series of actions that the two labour unions say they would zero in on Imo, following the attack on the NLC president, Joe Ajaero.

The NLC and TUC had on Tuesday, declared a nationwide strike, which will commence on Tuesday, November 14, due to the face-off with the Imo State Government.

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