Labour Cancels Planned Strike In Ondo

Labour unions in Ondo State have resolved to revoked its planned strike.

Recall that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) had demanded that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu should pay workers’ salary arrears or face the consequences of indefinite strike.

Chairman of NLC, Tayo Ogunleye, told journalists in Akure yesterday that the government had paid six out of the seven months arrears, pledging to defray the remaining before the end of January 2019.

He noted that the leadership of the organised labour had not compromised on the strike but only negotiated with the government on the welfare of workers.

He, however, expressed displeasure that government waited for an ultimatum from the labour unions before performing its duty.

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Organised Labour To Commence Nationwide Warning Strike

The Nigeria labour congress NLC, has directed all its members to commence a warning strike on the midnight of Wednesday, 26 September 2018.

Labour is making true its threat of a 14 day ultimatum issued to the federal government on the 12th of September to return to the negotiating table with its own proposed figure of a new national minimum wage for workers in the country.

In a letter to all Councils of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress TUC, signed by their General Secretaries, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson and Mr Ozigi, the two labour Centres said they are calling out their members over the non implementation of a national minimum wage.

A formal notification letter has also been issued to all Councils and Industrial Unions to that effect.

Except there is a quick response by the government before the ultimatum lapses, Nigerian workers nationwide will down tools to drive home their demand on a new national minimum wage.

Recall that President Muhammad Buhari had set up a tripartite Committee headed by former Permanent Secretary, Ms Amma Pepple to work out a new national minimum wage for workers in Nigeria.

But two weeks ago when the Committee was to meet for the last time before submitting its report to the government, the government through the Minster of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said government needed more time to deliberate and come up with its own figure and the meeting was adjourned indefinitely.

Rising from that meeting, labour issued the fourteen day ultimatum which will lapse on the midnight of Wednesday.

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Labour Unions Threaten Strike in Kano

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC ) and Joint Public Service Negotiation Council (JNC), in Kano State, have threatened to embark on a three -day warning strike if the state government failed to meet their demands.

The labour unions issued the threat during a press conference at the Press Center of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, in Kano.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Labor Congress in the state, Comrade Kabiru Ado Minjibir, said the decision to issue the warning strike was informed by the inconsistencies recorded in the payment of workers salaries in the state as a result of the unprofessional attitude of the consultants hired by the state government to handle salary issues.

The Chairman, who read the communique of the meeting of the joint bodies also decried the non- implementation of annual increment and promotion to staff of the state civil servants, local government staff as well as staff of SUBEB

He listed as part of their grievance the non-payment of outstanding 8 months salary arrears of the staff of the Primary Healthcare Management Board (PHCMB), whose appointment were regularized since 2015.

He also lamented the non-payment of outstanding 9 and 4 months of staff of Kano State Senior Secondary Management Board (KSSSMB) whose appointments were regularised since 2015.

According to the Chairman, the workers were offended by the non implementation of the 9 months salary arrears of staff of the Corporate Security Guards who were regularized since 2015.

The unionists gave the state government up to May 2018 to discontinue the use of consultants on salary matters in the state following the incompetent performance, advising the government to hand over the responsibility to qualified and suitable civil servants for the purpose .

They also demanded that all outstanding issues of omission, underpayment and deduction should be settled immediately just as they insisted that all outstanding cases of promotion and annual increase in the state civil service, local government and SUBEB should be dealt with accordingly.

They also demanded the state government to respect its earlier resolve to pay salary and pension on or before the 29th of every month.

NAN

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Strike Looms In Kogi As Labour Unions Issue Seven-Day Ultimatum To Yahaya Bello

The Kogi State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress (TUC), have issued a a seven-day ultimatum to Governor Yahaya Bello, to pay the July salary in full on or before September 12.

In a meeting presided over by the joint leadership of the trade unions in Lokoja on Wednesday, the workers resolved to reject the half salary policy of the state government.

The labour unions faulted the claim of the government that its wage bill was N3.1 billion as presented during its meeting with the leadership of the workers.

According to the organised labour, which also includes the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council, the state government later brought down the figure to N2.6 billion after the issue was raised with it.

The part statement reads: “If the N2.6 billion being quoted now by the state government as July 2017 wage bill is sacrosanct, and if the monthly allocation that accrued to the state from the federation account without the IGR shared in the month of August 2017 stands at N2.6 billion as presented to the organised labour, we wish to ask: why the percentage of salary?

“We wish to assure all workers that the organised labour still maintains its stance on ‘no percentage/half salary as proposed by government’.

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Planned Fuel Price Strike: NLC Splits, TUC Pulls Out

The polarisation in the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress came to bear yesterday as one faction of the union backed out of the its plan to force a reversal of petrol price from N145 per litre to N86.50k.

While the Ayuba Wabba faction of the NLC vowed to go on with the strike today, a faction of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), led by Joe Ajaero, also backed out.

This is even as the The National Industrial Court (NIC) ordered that the labour unions should not go on strike.

The Trade Union Congress also yesterday pulled out of the plan action.

The NLC team led by Wabba last night walked out of a meeting with the government delegation led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir David Lawal, claiming that the government failed to agree to a reduction in petrol price.

Wabba’s faction said it was not aware of any court order stopping it.

The government said workers should report for duty and that security was guaranteed.

It warned that anybody who failed to show up at work will have himself to blame.

NIC President Justice Babatude Adejumo, in an ex-parte ruling, also directed the NLC and the TUC to maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the motion on notice filed by Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Justice Adejumo gave the order after listening to Malami who moved an ex-parte application.

The judge said: “The defendants are hereby restrained from carrying out the threat contained in their communique issued on May 14th, pending the hearing and determination of the ýmotion on notice filed on May 16.

“It is the order of this court that status quo be maintained as at 17th Mayý.”

Listed as plaintiffs are the Federal Government and the AGF. The defendants are the NLC and the TUC.

Justice Adejumo also ordered that the processes in the case be served on the respondents within 24 hours and that proof of service be filed in the court

He added: “It is the order of this court that none of the parties shall engage in any act, conduct, overtly, covertly on this matter pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

Justice Adejumo however announced the transfer of the case to another judge of the court for further hearing on the grounds that he would be engaged at the National Judicial Council and would not be able to take further proceeding on the matter.

The judge said he would prefer that the dispute be resolved amicably but that he was constrained to issue the order exparte because the respondents were not yet before him.

He also said that he granted the order to make sure that people were not subjected to avoidable hardship.

“I decided to take this case this morning because it is on an issue that will affect everybody. I don’t want people to be subjected to hardship. There will be scarcity of food, people may die, students will engage in all sorts of activities. This is why I have to grant this order,” he said.

The plaintiffs, in the exparte application, sought an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the respondents from embarking on an industrial action pending the determination of the originating summons.

They also asked for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the respondents from engaging in any act that may disrupt the economic activities of the nation pending the determination of the originating summons.

Malami had, while moving an exparte application, argued that it was in the national interest to stop the organised labour from shutting down the nation over last week’s increase in price of fuel.

He cited Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, to justify his application to stop the strike.

Ajaero said his faction would not be part of the action because it was called at the wrong time and with the wrong motives.

He also accused the Wabba faction of coming to ask the government to write off a N2 billion loan collected in 2012 to buy buses which has not been paid back.

He said: “When you are coming to say that the loan that was given to you in 2012, which you have not paid back, should be written off, we see it as if the action has already been sold out before it takes off.

“So, we will wait for our group to meet. But, definitely, it appears that by ideology and every other thing, we can no longer meet. We thought we should have managed this in the interest of Nigerians but from the look of things, it appears we have to go our different ways.

“We have condemned the increase and called for negotiation and reversal and it was on the basis of our calls that this meeting was summoned for us to meet and find the way forward.”

Ajaero added: “If we wanted to be serious about an action, you can’t call for an action on Wednesday. It is only an action that is sold out that is called for Wednesday so that by Friday, you say you have strike lethargy and you call it off.

“Popular Trade union actions commence on Mondays and by the time you drag it for five days, it would have had an impact. In fact, you would have taken one week to mobilise and sensitise.

“As of today, apart from holding a NEC meeting and calling an action for two or three days, remember that the people you are mobilising have not been paid for about six months. Will it take a newspaper mobilisation for them to come out? We need to do a serious work if the action is to work. The action is called at the wrong time and with the wrong motive.”

Speaking at a meeting with the government delegation, Ajaero frowned at the government for not recognising his faction of the NLC, but simply as officers of Electricity Workers, Petroleum workers, Railways and Banks.

He said: “I want to correct an impression. We are not here as individual unions, but as a faction of the NLC. Unions make up the NLC. The NLC is not a union in itself. By our own historical accident, we found ourselves operating in two groups.

“The issue of deregulation is not something that is new. In fact, I was shocked when I saw Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on the other side. I am wondering what he will say now since we learnt a lot from him. I will listen to him carefully and see whether we now have another school of thought.

“We want to understand whether it is deregulation that took place or price fixing or whether government has regulated price in a deregulated market. On the issue of shortfall in foreign exchange, whether what has happened now will not worsen the market because if you are importing when the currency was N320 to the dollar and now, it has moved to N365.

“With the same amount of money, you will import less; if you import less, we will face scarcity and if you face scarcity, there will be distrust. We should also look at the issue of having local refineries because this issue has been on the front burner. You also talk about palliatives and we would also want to know whether this will be before or after deregulation.”

The President of NUPENG, who is also the deputy president of the Ajaero faction, Igwe Achese, lamented the division within labour, but pointed out that the ultimate issue is that the Nigerian worker must not be allowed to suffer.

He said his union was not surprised about deregulation, adding: “More often, you are faced with non performance of refineries, subsidy issue and many more. For us, it is not  surprising news that we need to deregulate.

“These are issues that NUPENG and PENGASSAN have been on for several years to see how NNPC can bounce back and become a world class company, think globally and be able to put back into the economy. But here we are faced with so many different policies.

“It is unfortunate that we have moved from sixth to eighth position in the extractive industry, but I believe that at the end of the day, Nigerians will understand while we pursue this issue. I hope that government will be able to have that political will and the enablement to put smile on the faces of Nigerians and bring the necessary palliatives.”

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