Nigerians can’t continue to suffer like this, says Saraki, as NLC, TUC protest.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Thursday staged a protest at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, over the rising cost of living in Nigeria.

The NLC Chairman, Ayuba Wabba, said the groups were protesting the delay in the upward review of minimum wage amidst increasing cost of items in the country.

“We are here to demand for good governance and express our support in the fight against corruption.

“More importantly, we demand for respect for rule of law, greater accountability and transparency in governance,” Mr. Wabba said.

He expressed worry that Nigerian workers had been the major victims of the fall-out of corruption and bad governance.

“Today the dollar rate is N500 to one dollar and the salaries of Nigerian workers have remained the same.

“Therefore, we are here to urge the National Assembly to play an important role to ensure that life is made better for Nigerians.

“We cannot succeed if the fight against corruption does not succeed.

“We appreciate the efforts by the National Assembly to ensure financial autonomy for the local governments and this must be sustained because money meant for the local governments does not get there.’’

The NLC chairman further expressed concern that in spite of the bailout funds to states for workers’ salaries, “the living condition of workers have not been improved because many are not paid’’.

He explained that pensioners in the country were owed up to 77 months and called on the National Assembly to synergise with other arms of government to pay them.

Contributing, the TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, said that the inflation rate in the country was growing astronomically.

Mr. Kaigama said that it was time for governments at all tiers to go back to the drawing board to revive the country’s economy.

“Whatever it takes, we must review the structure of our economy.

“If we must have to kill corruption, the laws have to come from the National Assembly.

“Nigerians are hungry, the cost of living is high, no houses, no light and factories have gone comatose,’’ Kaigama said.

Responding, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said it was time to go into action towards addressing the numerous challenges confronting Nigerians.

According to him, we need to sit down and work out how to make necessary adjustments.

“It can’t continue this way, the exchange rate is high, cost of things in the market have gone high but only the workers’ salaries remain the same.

“By the next time we will meet, I will tell you what the National Assembly has done to improve the living condition of Nigerians,” Mr. Saraki said.


Source: NAN

Acting President Osinbajo meets with labour leaders, promises good governance.

Leaders of organised labour met with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday to present a letter bordering on the welfare of Nigerian workers.

Members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) held a protest in Abuja to demand good governance.

Some of their placards read: ‘High Electricity Tariff + Increase in Fuel Price = Factory Closure, Job Losses’, ‘Stop Importation of Petroleum Products, Refine at Home’, and ‘Gagging the press is Encouraging Corruption’.

Addressing reporters after meeting Osinbajo, Ayuba Wabba, president of the NLC, said they told the acting president that there was a disconnect between the centre and the state.

“We presented our letter of demands, we reminded him (Osinbajo) that this is the second time we are marching for good governance, we have also marched to support the fight against corruption,” he said.

“We told him that despite all that is going on there is no connect with what is happening at the centre and the states because up till today, the funds of some local government have not been released.

“Despite the bailout, despite the Paris club up till now we are yet to see something tangible. We are still discussing the issues of salaries, pension and gratuity.

“He informed us, that is myself and the TUC president, that they were cataloguing these things. Everything was documented, see the documents.

“He appreciated the fact that we came in an orderly manner to table our demands, saying that is what is expected.

“He said every item on that agenda is going to receive the attention of government. We also reminded them that on pensioners because we have also been at the receiving end.”

Wabba said the government must always consider its citizens when formulating policies.

“Basically this has received a favourable response and attention. All the three arms of government need to be together, we must have good laws. They must look at the citizens in whatever policies they churn out,” he said.

NLC, TUC reject El-Rufai’s eviction order on civil servants; vow to fight to death

The Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria are at loggerheads with the Kaduna State Government over a directive for all civil servants living in government quarters to quit the premises within seven days.

At a joint press conference in Kaduna on Monday, Adamu Ango, and Shehu Mohammed, state chapter chairmen of NLC and TUC respectively, on Monday in Kaduna, said the notice was not only an abuse of the right of the civil servants, but violated the known laws between a tenant and a landlord.

According to them, the law establishing Kaduna State rent tribunal, where all matters relating to tenancy is settled, stipulates that three months’ notice be given to any tenant before any eviction can be carried out.

The unions called on all its members occupying government quarters in the state to disregard the eviction order and remain in the premises.

“We have taken all diplomatic steps to ensure that the governor sees reason but all in vain. So we are calling on all our members to stay put at the same time calling the state government to prepare their arsenal because we are ready to sacrifice our lives to protect our members,” the unions said.

The labour unions also expressed dismay over the recent retrenchment by the state government, saying it is a ploy to kick some civil servant out of service.

Speaking on this, Mr. Mohammed said the Kaduna State Property Development Company which had 60 personnel, now has 14, while SUBEB with staff strength of 300, now has only 34 staff.

“Some of our members have already been sent to the office of the Head of Service where they are doing nothing, and in the end the government may decide to terminate their appointments saying their services are no longer needed.

“Therefore the restructure is not acceptable to us and cannot hold because we are going to fight against it,” he said.

Samuel Aruwan, Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, did not respond to calls or text messages on Monday.

Why we sacked NLC, TUC chairmen – Ogun Government

The Ogun State Government has given reasons why it sacked the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Akeem Ambali, the head of the teachers’ union, NUT, Dare Ilekoya, and suspended another 19 public servants from the service.

The government in a statement signed by its Head of Service, Sola Adeyemi, and made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday said Mr, Ambali was found to have held several meetings with politicians in preparation for the Teachers Day celebration, which was said to be contrary to the civil service rules.

The government said the dismissal of Mr, Ambali and others has nothing to do with the indefinite strike embarked upon by the workers.

The state government has been having a running battle with workers over allegations of illegal deductions from salaries.

Governor Ibikunle Amosun had while reacting to the workers strike at a town hall meeting held at June 12 Cultural Centre, Abeokuta, described the aggrieved workers as brainless and senseless.

The government, while further justifying the sack,? declared that the panel set up to investigate the allegations found the affected officials guilty of contravening the public service rules and recommended their dismissal from the service.

‘The panel recommended that with the facts available to it, Mr Akeem Ambali gave interviews, press statements and met several times with politicians for the D-day. The government therefore dismissed Mr Akeem Ambali from the public service”, the statement noted.

The Ogun government also justified its sack of the head of the teachers’ union, NUT, in the state, Dare Ilekoya, saying it acted on the recommendation of the panel.

“Those recommended for dismissal include Comrade Akeem Ambali, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Comrade Dare Ilekoya, the state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT. They were all found to have contravened the Public Service Rules 04401, 04402 (c&d) and 04406 (a) due to their involvement in the political rally they held under the guise of World Teachers Day celebration event.

“Also the government approved the suspension of another nineteen public servants for contravening the public service rules. The government has already directed the appropriate agencies such as the State Local Government Service Commission to implement the approved recommendations with immediate effect.”

The labour leaders have condemned the sack and suspension and vowed to continue with their strike.

Labour threaten to shutdown Nigeria over planned national assets sale

Oil workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, have threatened to shut down the country should the Federal Government carry out its plan to sell national assets to augment revenue shortfall.

Also, the Trade Union Congress on Sunday said it would join PENGASSAN to shut down the country if the government remained adamant on its plan to sell some national assets.

PENGASSAN, in a statement on Sunday by its National Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojugbana, said the government should look into other ways to increase its revenue base while plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.

The union, which described the plan to sell the national assets as a self-destructive move for Nigeria, said, “The plan meant to solve short-term financial obligations is targeted at handing over our collective wealth to a few individuals and further impoverish the rest of our countrymen and women.”

It said government at all levels should pump money into the economy through the execution of capital projects and payment of workers’ salaries to revive the economy.

PENGASSAN said it would not sit back and watch the sale of national assets, especially those in the oil and gas industry, such as the Nigeria LNG that had become a huge revenue-earner for Nigeria; refineries and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations being shared among those in power and their cronies.

It said, “Any attempt to sell these national assets will be met with stiff resistance from the association, as PENGASSAN will galvanise every support, including that of our sister union and labour centres to shut down this country by ensuring that every activity in the oil and gas sector is brought to a complete halt.

“Some opportunists in the clothes of businessmen and short-sighted politicians had earlier advocated the sale of public assets such as the NLNG, four state-owned refineries, Nigeria’s stakes in the Africa Finance Corporation, the nation’s airports and reduction of government’s shares in upstream oil joint venture operations and this was approved by the National Economic Council.”

Reacting to the recent approval of the sale of the national assets by the NEC, Ojugbana said the sale of the assets would further compound the economic and security problems in the country.

He added, “They should tell us what will happen after the recession if we have sold the assets to greedy individuals. Will the country go cap in hand begging those individuals who bought the assets and borrowing from them?”

He said the plan “is ill-timed and unwarranted as it does not serve national interest,” adding that no nation could develop, survive or feel secure after selling all its national assets.”

PENGASSAN stated, “Doing this will further mortgage the future of our great country in the hands of few cabals. These individuals are just looking for advantage to further loot the country through illegal acquisition of the national assets as in the case of various oil blocks held by a few powerful Nigerians.

“The sale of national assets is not only surprising but also embarrassing for a nation experiencing economic recession. The proponents of the sale of national assets are those who have been actively involved in the operations of the nation’s economy in the past. They were part of those responsible for the country’s current economic situation.”

According to him, such sales in the past, including the power and steel sectors privatisation, are just a shift from public monopoly to private monopoly, which has further worsen those sectors.

“It is, therefore, the candid position of PENGASSAN that such a plan should be thrown into the trash bin. Government should continue to seek better ways to address the present economic challenges and reduce areas of wastage. The long overdue calls for diversification of the economy should be driven with all seriousness; more action is required urgently than propaganda mechanism,” he said.

The President of the TUC, Bala Kaigama, said on the telephone on Sunday that the Congress would collaborate with the two major unions in the oil sector because the planned sale of the assets was flawed.

He noted that if those who invested in the assets had sold them, the current administration would not have met them.

Kaigama said, “We will solidarise with them. You cannot sell vital assets like that. You don’t. If those who invested in the assets had sold them, would they have met them?

“Of course, these business people, who are saying sell and sell, let them pay the appropriate taxes. Those people who are not paying the appropriate taxes, let them pay the appropriate taxes and money will accrue to the Federal Government.

“TUC will solidarise with NUPENG and PENGASSAN to shut down the country.”

The Nigeria Labour Congress, on its own, said while it would take necessary steps on the issue, it had not taken the decision to shut down the country.

The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, stated on Sunday that the congress would inform Nigerians when the decision was taken.

Ozo-Eson added, “No. We are a democratic organ; we have our processes. We have not taken a decision; when we take a decision, we will let the country know.

“If individual unions have announced, we have no quarrel with that. We are opposed to it (assets sale) and we will take the necessary steps. We have not yet taken that decision of shutting down the country or whatever. We will inform the nation when we take that decision.”

Fuel Price Hike: NLC, TUC, To Go Ahead With Strike Despite Court Order

Despite an order of the National Industrial Court restraining the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress from going ahead with their planned strike to protest the hike in price of petrol, the strike will go ahead as planned on Wednesday, labour officials have said.

The General Secretary of the NLC, Peter Ozo-Eson, on Tuesday night told Premium Times that from all indications the strike would go on as planned.

On the meeting with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, earlier convened to attempt to broker a last minute truce on the matter, Mr. Ozo-Eson said the meeting was yet to hold at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

“There was no resolution yet. We are just going for the meeting now. ,” the NLC scribe said on telephone interview. “We have been meeting on our own on matters that are important to us. It is clear the strike will go ahead as planned,” Mr. Ozo-Eson said on telephone on his way to the venue of the meeting.

He however assured that an official statement would be issued on the final position after what promises to be an all-night meeting.

The General Executive Secretary of Medical and Health Workers Union, north central, Richard Gbamwuan, in an interview with this newspaper, shortly after an emergency NEC meeting of the NLC held in Abuja on Tuesday, said that they were going ahead with the proposed strike.

“We have resolved to go ahead with the protest nationwide, as far as we are concerned, we are yet to be aware of any court injunction,” he said.

“And if there is any court injunction, we are just doing what federal government is fond of doing. The same Industrial court had stopped federal government from increasing electric tariff but till date federal government ignored us, they still went ahead, so we are embarking on the protest.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

TUC Blasts Tinubu Over Renewed Call To Remove Oil Subsidy

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has condemned the push for the removal of subsidy by the National Leader of the All progressives Congress (APC) and former  Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

TUC said that the statement credited to Tinubu during the memorial conference organised in honour of the late Dr. Bala Usman in Kaduna last Friday that the policy has overstayed its usefulness, “is not only unfortunate, it is rather ironic that it was made in the ten year anniversary of Dr Bala Usman, who gave up all privileges in the pursuit of common man’s happiness.

TUC, in a joint statement by its President, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama and Secretary General, Musa Lawal, said that “were Bala Usman to be alive today, he would fight to ensure that the policy is not abolished without functional refineries.”

TUC said that subsidy is an accepted policy the world over targeted at specific items to either cushion the effect of harsh environment for the benefit of the less privileged or to encourage people into less attractive but important aspects of national economy.

“Thus most countries in the world subsidise most commodities to benefit their citizens . But unfortunately the masses of the country never benefited from it, no thanks to the cruel and insensitive posture of successive leadership.”

Credit: Vanguard

NLC, TUC Vow To Hold Buhari, APC Accountable To “3 Million Jobs A Year” Pledge

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, on Friday in Abuja vowed to hold the incoming Muhammadu Buhari-led government accountable in respect of his party’s promises to Nigerians and workers in particular.

Mr. Buhari was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The unions made the vow at the 2015 May Day celebration with the theme: “The Working Class, Democratic Consolidation and Economic Revival: Charting the Way to National Rebirth”.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, urged the incoming administration to revive the Ajaokuta Steel complex, saying the plant was conceived to be the cornerstone of Nigeria’s industrialisation programme.

“Unfortunately, our political class has refused to accept the simple truth that no country can truly industrialise without iron and steel industry.

“The fate of Aladja, Osogbo, Jos and Katsina steel rolling mills post-privatization is too grim to recall here”, Mr. Wabba said.

Mr. Wabba advised the government which is to be inaugurated on May 29, to view development from the prism of tapping into the abundant economic potential offered by the entrepreneurial drive of Nigerians.

He said that resources were locked up in the soil and that any country “subserviently” reliant on importation, was only exporting jobs.

While urging the president-elect to pay attention to agriculture as it has the capacity to employ millions of Nigerians, Mr. Wabba said the government must also lead the way by making farming attractive to young people through the provision of agricultural inputs, equipment and other relevant infrastructure.

“There is also the need to establish a strong linkage between different sectors of our economy, especially with regard to promoting industrialisation and manufacturing.

“This will focus on turning our agricultural products and other natural resources into quality semi-processed and fully processed goods”.

On the issue of unemployment, he noted that the incoming administration had promised to create three million jobs yearly.

“Our leadership will take up all levels of government on their commitment to job creation and will not relent till we see tangible results on these scores”, he said.

He noted that the prevailing economic crunch and the devaluation of the naira has eroded the purchasing power of the Nigerian worker.

“The National Minimum Wage of N18, 000 that was negotiated in 2010 is clearly no longer of any meaningful economic value to workers.

“The five-year circle for periodic review of the National Minimum Wage is at hand.

“We wish to use this May Day celebration to give formal notice that we shall table a request for a new minimum wage for consideration soon after the new administration is sworn in”, he said.

The NLC president advised state governments and other employers of labour yet to discharge their obligations under the current national minimum wage regime to do so immediately as they were breaking the law by not complying with the provisions of the 2011 National Minimum Wage Act.

On his part, Bobboi Kaigama, the President of TUC, called the attention of the incoming government in the areas of economy, national security, anti-corruption war, national unity and cohesion, among others.

Mr. Kaigama said if the president-elect must succeed, his administration must be quick to reverse the present ratio between capital and recurrent expenditure.

We Will Fight You Over Fuel Subsidy- NLC, TUC Tell Buhari

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) seem to be gearing for war with the incoming government of General Muhammadu Buhari over fuel subsidy removal.

The two labour groups made a vow yesterday in Abuja that they would the incoming administration a fight over the plans he had been announcing on the removal of fuel subsidy when he gets into power late next month.

This position was made known by the factional Deputy President of NLC, Comrade Peters Adeyemi during a press briefing ahead of the activities of the 2015 Workers’ Day. He stated that the subsidy does not exist as it is part of the corruption the country is battling with and must see that it does not happen.

The labour body also warned the incoming administration of Buhari not to be desperate in looking for money in the wrong places. “We know it has been a contentious issue over the years. We have consistently said that there is nothing like subsidy. So it is all about corruption. If you also take your minds back to the so called removal of subsidy, it is something that numerous governments have embarked upon without an end. So who tells you that if the incoming government embarks on it, it will see to the end of removal of subsidy?” he asked.

“During Obasanjo’s government, this exercise was embarked upon about 11 times and Labour engaged the government severally. It is like the more you see, the less you see. For us in Labour, we are not going to support that, both NLC and TUC. So I hope that the incoming government in his desperation to look for money will do that. It is part of corruption. For now we do not have the disposition to support that and we are not supporting it,” he added.

He added that NLC and TUC do not have the mandate of their members to support the removal of the subsidy.

Speaking on the call by NLC to pay outstanding salaries before the May 29 handover date, Adeyemi said they have already commenced campaigns, also partnering with State Councils to make sure that the outgoing governors pay their workers before they exit office. According to him, there will be no justification for any Governor who does not pay its worker before exit.

“The NLC has already taking decisions and are working already, we have constituted task forces that will go round the states that we have identified which has refused to pay salary. Right now, we are partnering with state councils with the view of taking on those governors, we are determined to make sure that before May 29, we put in place appropriate actions that will compel those governors to do something positively on the money they owe us”.

Read More: sunnewsonline

New N100 notes, Wasteful, Ill-Timed — TUC

TRADE Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, weekend, faulted the introduction of new N100 bank notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to commemorate Nigeria’s centenary celebration, saying it was ill-timed and wasteful.

In a statement by its President and Secretary General, Mr. Bobboi Kaigama and Musa Lawal respectively, TUC said “printing of new currency is usually a capital-intensive venture, and raises questions as to how the CBN hopes to grapple with the economic implications of redesigning and printing the new bank notes.

“Even the timing of the project is inappropriate, coming so late in the year when the economic hustle and bustle associated with Christmas and New Year are nigh.

“These, together with the heightened state of insecurity in parts of the country, the frenzy of political activities and electioneering campaigns towards the forthcoming 2015 elections, and the current slump in global oil prices make this the worst possible time for such drastic fiscal policy.”