Workers anticipate sustainable remuneration as FG inaugurates wage cmtt on Monday

By Abolaji Adebayo

The workers under the aegis of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) have expressed optimism that the government would approve the minimum wage which could sustain average workers to take care of their daily needs as 30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee is scheduled to be inaugurated on Monday.

Expressing their agitation for increased salary on Sunday, the labour leaders, who said the workers need ‘living wage’ but not minimum wage, believed that their demand earlier termed ‘minimum wage’ would be met, saying that the wage must be enough for the workers to enjoy their lives while working as it is obtained in other countries.

President Muhammdu Buhari, on Thursday, approved the appointment of a 30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee for the negotiation of a new National Minimum Wage.

The labour leaders, who are members of the committee, spoke to journalists in Lagos ahead of the committee inauguration scheduled for Monday in Abuja.

The committee is made up of persons from the public sector (federal and state governments) and the private sector (members of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA)).

The President, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said their expectation was that the demand of labour would be met, maintaining that the labour group would discuss with open mind to ensure that it achieve its aims and objectives.

He said that the meeting with the tripartite committee would be a social dialogue and collective bargaining discussion.

According to him, the inauguration is long overdue and effort would be made to fast track negotiations to ensure that workers and pensioners get their accrued benefits.

He hinted that labour would discuss issues relating to rate of Naira because the present exchange rate had increased from the time N56,000 was being proposed by labour.

NLC General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, also said that the committee would discuss many issues affecting the minimum wage and the way forward.

According to Ozo-Eson, it is over two years since the organised labour proposed N56,000 as minimum wage to the government; and so will consider a number of socio-economic indices to take its action.

He said that the organised labour was looking forward to the inauguration because the committee was made up of a tripartite group that would discuss issues affecting the Nigerian workers.

“We look forward to the inauguration which I believe will discuss the facts and economic realities when it starts negotiation.’’

Presidency to swear-in 30-man minimum wage committee

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

The Presidency has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would swear-in 30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee on Monday, the team which was said to have been formed to look into and negotiate pathway for a new pay package.

Assurance from the presidency came barely three days after Ministry of Labour and Employment disclosed that the the president has approved appointment of the members.

It would be recalled that the committee appointment was Federal Government’s response to yearning of trader unions, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), for review of current N18, 000

Confirming the planned swearing in ceremony, Personal Assistance to the President on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, in a statement on Sunday on one of its social media, assured Nigerians that Buhari is more passionate about workers welfare.

“President Muhammadu Buhari takes this issue of new minimum wage very very serious, the 30-member National Minimum Wage Committee will be inaugurated by him this week.”

The committee, to be swear in, would be chaired by former Head of Service of the Federation, Ama Pepple.

The private sector groups include the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), and Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME).

From the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) are Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State (South-west); Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State (South-east); Governor Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State (North-east); Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (South-south); Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State (North-central); Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State (North-west) and A. B. Okauru, Director-General NGF as an observer.

On the trade union side are: President, NLC, Ayuba Wabba; Peters Adeyemi, NLC; Kiri Mohammed, NLC; Amechi Asugwuni, NLC; Peter Ozo-Eson, NLC; Bobboi Bala Kaigama, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC); Sunday Olusoji Salako, TUC; Alade Bashir Lawa, TUC; and Igwe Achese, President, Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

Also, on the employers’ side are: Olusegun Oshinowo, Director General, NECA; Timothy Olawale, NECA; Chuma Nwankwo, NECA; Olubunmi Adekoje, Director General, Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI); Ahmed Ladan Gobir, Chairman, Kaduna East branch, MAN; Francis Oluwagbenro, MAN; Muheeba Dankaka, President, Kano branch, NACCIMA; and Degun Agboade, President, NASME.

Siemens workers protest against planned 6,900 jobs cut

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah with agency report

Atleast 2, 000 Siemens employees protested in various German cities against the company’s proposal to cut 6,900 jobs, announces

The protest was sequel to the company’s announcement that about 6,900 jobs, or close to 2% of its global workforce would be cut with about half of those to be affected in Germany, mainly at its power and gas division, which has been hit by the rapid growth of renewable energy.

Germany’s largest trade union, IG Metall, called for the protests in Berlin and the city of Offenbach near Frankfurt, urging Siemens to revise plans because it would harm the company.

“We have concepts, alternatives, and we expect the company to have a serious talk with us, the works councils, about the future for Siemens,” a senior union representative, Klaus Abel said.

One of the protesters, Tanja Scorrano, who has among the protesters, having worked for Siemens in Offenbach for 27 years, vowed that the striking workers would not back down until they get the required assurance from the company.

The German government’s commissioner for eastern German affairs, Iris Gleicke, urged Siemens to strike a fair bargain with workers to prevent job loss.

Gleicke noted that the job cuts would be devastating for sites in structurally weak parts of eastern Germany, saying,  I expect that Siemens and the workers’ representatives would agree on a fair balance of interests.

The mayor of the city of Offenbach, Horst Schneider, where Siemens plans to cut 700 jobs, said that the city has a further right to exist in this global company and cannot be that the big ones always eat the small ones

According to Siemens’ human resources chief, it could modify its plans after talking with the union.

Academic unions begin indefinite strike over unpaid arrears

Olawale Abdul-fatah

Workers in research institutes across the country under the aegis of Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions (JORAISU), have embarked on indefinite strike action over Federal Government’s non-implementation of agreement signed with the Unions in the Research and Allied Institutions since 2011.

The three main unions in the research institutes include involved in the strike action include the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) and the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI).

They announced their strike at a joint press conference in Abuja, NASU General Secretary, Peters Adeyemi, ASURI General Secretary Com. Theo Ndubuaku and SSAUTHRIAI General Secretary, M. O. Akinade, in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Union leaders lamented that after several failed promises and expiration of various ultimatum issued to intimate the Federal Government of their displeasure over non fulfillment of the signed agreement.

According to Adeyemi who briefed on behalf of the unions, the agitation for negotiation of a separate salary structure for the Research and Allied Institutions for commenced in year 2009 and in year 2010 Government constituted a negotiating Committee.

He said other issues that have been pending includes, ​Non-payment of outstanding 12 months arrears of CONRAISS, ​Approval of the reviewing conditions of services, Non-implementation of the Retirement Age of 65 years.

Others include demand for the withdrawal of circular on non-skipping of CONTISS 10, payment of Peculiar/Earned Allowance, establishment of a central body for the effective co-ordination of Research activities in the Research Institutes to be known as National Research Institute Commission (NARICOM) and increased funding of Research Institutes.

He said after several meetings and agreement was signed with the Unions in the Research and Allied Institutions in January, 2011.

He said, “Contrary to the norms and the spirit of negotiation, the Federal Government foisted on the Unions an effective date 1st July, 2010 for the new salary known as Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS) as against 1st July, 2009 which was the effective date approved for our counterparts in the Universities and even the Colleges of Agriculture under the Research Institutions.

” the effective date of 1st July, 2010 was rejected as can be seen on page 9 of the Agreement signed with the Federal Government.  The Unions wrote to the Federal Government formally rejecting this effective date vide its letter dated 23rd May, 2011 asking that the 1st July, 2009 as was given others should apply to the Research and Allied Institutions.  The JORAISU equally wrote vide its letter dated 23rd May, 2011 to the Executive Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission on the need to conclude negotiation on the Peculiar/Earned Allowances as agreed to at the negotiation table.

As usual nothing was heard from Government and the Unions met and wrote to the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture via its letter reference JORAISU/Vol.I/08 dated 6th October, 2011 seeking of unimplemented portions of the Agreement and others.  The Honourable Minister never responded as expected.

“On 17th October, 2011 via letter reference JORAISU/Vol.I/13, the Unions gave Government a 14-day ultimatum effective 17th October, 2011 to fully address the issue of the unimplemented areas of the Agreement or the Unions will order their members out on a 7-day warning strike action effective 31st October, 2011. The strike was held as planned.  After then, nothing happened.  On 27th January, 2012 via letter reference JORAISU/Vol.I/13, the Unions wrote to the Secretary to the Federal Government and others on an imminent strike action in the Research and Allied Institutions as a result of Government refusal to implement the Agreement it freely reached with the Unions, giving Government another 14-days ultimatum which expired on 13th February, 2012.

He said as usual the Federal Government ignored the Unions.  The Unions resumed the suspended strike action on 13th August, 2012, as a result of which Government constituted another high-powered Committee which spanned another 5 months with no tangible result.  This therefore led to the resumption of the suspended strike action again on 4th February, 2013.

Thus haven waited this long without any tangible response from Government on the matter JORAISU finally issued Government a 15 day ultimatum effective 30th October, 2017 within which to implement all our demands failing which JORAISU would have no other option tan to call out the entire workforce in the Research and Allied Institutions sector.

Buhari backs El-rufai on over 21, 000 sacked teachers

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

The hopes of 21, 780 Kaduna state sacked teachers to get President Muhammadu Buhari assistance in appealing to their state governor, Nasru El-Rufai, to reinstate them was on Monday dashed after the president threw his weight behind the ongoing education reform in the state.

Buhari, who was apparently cad over standard of education in the country, described the present state of education in the country as pathetic considering the outcome of the competency test conducted for teachers in Kaduna state where teachers coyuld not pass the exam they set for their pupila.

Buhari, who spoke at a special retreat of the Federal Executive Counicl (FEC) in Abuja, endorsed the primary education reforms being carried out by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state.

“It is a very tragic situation we are in, and this our gathering is one of the most important ones in this administration. I listened to one of the Nigerians I respect, he said after his training here in Nigeria and the United States, he went to his alma mater, his primary school to see what he could contribute. I won’t mention his name but when he went, he couldn’t differentiate between the students, the children and the teachers. And what el-Rufai is trying to do now is exactly what that man told me about 10 years ago.”

The president said the effect of decay in the education sector was glaring, vowing that his administration would change the situation for the better.

Buhari, while comparing the standard of education in the country few years after independence, hinted that as an orphan, the boarding school he attended helped shaped his career.

“I spent nine year in boarding school, three in primary school and six in secondary school. In those days, teachers treat students like their own children. If you did well, they will tell you, you didn’t, they wouldn’t spare the rod. When I finished my secondary school, I didn’t work for a day, I refused to work for a day. I left home, I refused to work in the local government, and then I joined the army.’’

It would be recalled that as part of the reforms, Kaduna state government carried out an assessment test on all its 33,000 primary school teachers to determine their suitability as teachers.

Of the number that engaged in the test, no fewer than 21,000 of the teachers fail to score the mandatory 75 per cent of the primary four examination administered.

Effecting the outcome of the test, the governor sacked the teachers that failed the test, just as he announced plans to employ no fewer than 25, 000 teachers as replacement.

The organised labour is currently inflamed by the decision of Kaduna government, but the government warned that there was no going back in the interest of posterity.

Workers suspends seven weeks strike in Kogi

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
The industrial action embarked upon by the organised labour unions in Kogi state over stringent working conditions introduced by the state government has been suspended by the workers after reaching agreement with government representatives.
It would be recalled that the workers embarked on industrial action after the state governor, Yahya Bello, directed the state Head of Service (HoS), to introduce measures described by the workers as inappropriate.
Rising from the meeting held in the office o the Deputy Governor, chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kogi chapter, Onu Edoka, said the workers decided to suspend their seven weeks old strike after both parties agreed to sheath sword and signed agreement.
At the meeting held on Friday, Chief Press Secretary to the deputy governor, Akor Sylvester, hinted that the agreement was reached after much consultations by representatives of the government and workers.
“That the ‘clock- in  and  out’ machines, which Government   instituted   as   Electronic Attendance Register would be test-run for the next   three (3)   months   starting   from   10th November,   2017   and   ending   10th  February, 2018,   during   which   its   efficiency   and functionality   will   be   determined   by   a Committee   comprising   Government   and Organized   Labour   representatives.
They also agreed that print-out   of   the   machine   and   the   existing Manual   Attendance   Register would be used monthly by the committee to determine degree of efficiency of the ‘clock-in and out’ machines which led to the face-off.
It was also agreed that representatives of both parties  should hold meetings on resolving the grey areas and peculiarities surrounding the system, while a Desk Officer in each Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDA) be appointed to handle the records.
“That  on   no  account   would   the   machines   be used to determine the payment of salaries to workers until the Committee of Government and Organized Labour adjudged the efficiency of the machine after the expiration of the three(3) months in February, 2018.
“That   the   payment   of   salary   and   pension   to workers   and   pensioners   respectively   for   the month   of   August   2017   would   be   full   and comprehensive i.e All cleared staff including the   pardoned   staff   and   the   Omitted/New retirees will be pay-rolled and paid their full month salary and pension respectively on or before Friday 17th November, 2017, while all   cases  of   arrears   of salaries and  pensions will   be   scheduled   for payment as  funds   are available based on the understanding between Labour and Government.”
On the Contributory Pension Scheme, the parties agreed that since it is mandatory by law that workers should key into the scheme, and the Bill to domesticate the law is before the State House of Assembly, it was agreed that all grey areas noticed by the workers be presented at a Public Hearing to be held by State   House   of  Assembly.
Speaking, the Deputy Governor, Simon Achuba, who led the government side in the agreement signing, thanked the labour leaders for their understanding and said the government is ever ready to work with them.

NLC warns El Rufai over another workers retrench

By Abolaji Adebayo

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El Rufai to desist from his plan to embark on another mass sack of workers in the state, stating that it would not hesitate to battle the governor if the plan is not reversed.

The Union stated on Friday that it had uncovered plans by the governor to embark on another mass sack of workers in the state.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said that the recent sack of teachers was a pointer to the planned mass sack of workers in the state.

He noted that laying off workers would deepen the level of poverty and deprivation in the country.

Wabba said that the November 8 mass protest by workers was to express their collective opposition to the anti-workers policies of the governor, warning the governor to desist from his sack plan.

He claimed that the competency test that resulted in sacking of teachers was just a way of imposing hardship on the people, especially workers, saying the test was not transparent.

According to Wabba, the test was fraudulent as it was discovered that some of those who were said to have passed the test were either dead, retired teachers or those who left service two years ago.

“Also included were school guards who were never engaged in the teaching profession,” he added.

He said it was clear that the state government was only interested in mass sack of workers going by the recent developments, claiming that workers in the civil service, local government, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) were the target.

According to him, the planned sack is targeted at about 5,000 local government workers and 8,000 in MDAs.

Kano uncovers alleged retired senior civil servants on payroll

by Abubakar Zaharadden Kano
The ongoing screening of civil servants in Kano state has started yielding result after the Government discovered a retired director allegedly impersonating the office to receive monthly salary from the government.
It was gathered that the alleged retired director, who left the state civil service some years ago, retired as a level 15 and still received salary using another name on the state payroll.
Sources said that before the discovery on Tuesday, the Kano civil servants screening committee had screened thousands of workers to authenticate list of civil servants in the state.
It was learned that the screening was approved by the state government after it became obvious that the state civil service had an over bloated figure of staff on its payroll.
Announcing the discovery, Chairman of the committee Dr. Suleiman Sani, at the sitting of the committee at Audu Bako secretariat, Kano, said that the fake director, a woman, appeared before them claiming a fake name on the payroll, describing her as an illiterate.
Sani, who noted to prevent the act from continuing, the committee was able to discover other accomplice and handed them over to the law enforcement agency.
“The woman has been arrested with two suspects whom they are working together and will subsequently be prosecuted after the completion of investigation,” Sani added.

Ambode swears in five Permanent Secretaries, tasks workers on creativity

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

The Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has tasked the over 100, 000 civil servants to come up with new ideas and innovation that would strengthen development in the state.

Ambode added that coming up with innovative ideas further add values to the implementation of government policies and programmes which would benefits residents in the state.

The governor, who made the appeal on Monday, while swearing in the five newly appointed Permanent Secretaries at the EXCO chamber, Lagos House, Ikeja, noted that it would assist them in their career.

He stated that though they have been creative over the years but there is need for more to sustain and strengthen the achievement recorded in Lagos.

“I am not unaware of the fact that the Permanent Secretaries are supported by hard working Directors and other officers down the ladder of the Civil Service. I want to use this opportunity to reaffirm my appreciation and gratitude to the entire members of the State Public service for their dedication to duty, commitment and service to the State,” he added.

Meanwhile, after witnessing the swearing in of the Permanent Secretaries, Ambode noted that their appointment was not to fill vacuum created by their predecessor who retired but to reward officers that had worked hard and came up with new ideas.

The five Permanent Secretaries were Ibirogba Omotilewa; Ogunnubi Olukayode; Dr. Are Iyabo; Dr. Salaam Olufemi and Awobamise Omotayo.

The governor stressed that their appointment would motivate other workers that are aspiring to attain Permanent Secretary Post before their retirement.

“I therefore have no doubts that their appointment will be a source of encouragement to all officers who are diligent in the discharge of their duties as civil servants.”

“I charge all of you to rededicate yourselves to the tenets of the public service reforms we have embarked on and prove to the rest of the service your justification for the new elevation.

“This is not the time to relent on your hard work but rather a time for you to come up with new ideas and innovation that will add value to our State in the way and manner government policies are implemented for the greater benefit and service of our people,” he added.

Kano governor swears in four new Permanent Secretaries

By Abolaji Adebayo
In a bid ensure Kano state civil service remain vibrant, the governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, has swear in four new Permanent Secretaries into the state Civil Service, with the charged to cooperate with the political class towards attaining the set goals of the administration.
The new permanent secretaries and their ministries were Ibrahim Sagagi; Ministry of Works, Sale Minjibir; Government House, Muhammad Al-Amin; Ministry of Health and Bilkisu Maimota; Research, Evaluation and Political Affairs, Cabinet Office.
Addressing the appointees shortly after taking oath of office, which was administered by the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Barr. Ibrahim Mukhtar, the governor said the appointment was part of a continuing reorganization process in the civil service.
He hinted that the recent reassignment of Permanent Secretaries and appointment of new ones in the state was targeted at making the service more robust and capable of meeting emerging challenges in managing the affairs of the citizenry.
“We have to be strong to make the government more responsive to the needs of the people. So, we have to re-organize once in a while for efficient service delivery”, the governor added.
According to Governor, the reorganization would continue in the Civil Service until the state could get the best it is searching for in the management of the state.
The governor, in a statement by his Director General, Media and Communications, Salihu Yakasai, maintained that the appointment of the new Permanent Secretaries is based on their track record of service and competence, urging them to keep the flag flying high.