TUC Demands New Minimum Wage, Condemns Politicians' Jumbo Severance Allowances

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has asked the incoming federal and state governments to prepare for workers’ demand for pay rise. It has also called for the reversal of the severance allowances of politicians.

This notice was contained in a statement issued by the congress at the end of its National Executive Congress (NEC), which was held in Lagos on Friday.

The statement was signed by the association’s President and General Secretary, Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Musa Lawal respectively.

In it, the TUC lauded outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for statesmanship in conceding defeat at the last general elections. It also congratulated the President-elect, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, for emerging victorious.

It said that the current minimum wage of N18,000 is grossly inadequate, noting, however, that many state governments have failed to pay even that.
The statement read:
“The NEC-in-session welcomes the new dawn in Nigeria. The session especially commends the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for not allowing ambition to throw the country into chaos while enjoining the President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari that the state of the country requires surgical, politico-economic operation to return the country to normalcy.

“The NEC-in-session therefore enjoins the in-coming government to address the following as a matter of urgency:-

“High cost of Governance:

“The NEC-in-session calls on the incoming Government to drastically reduce the high cost of governance in the country. It noted the need to cut down on political appointments and the situation whereby lawmakers fix their own salaries and allowances must be discouraged and discontinued.

“Upward Review of Wages AND PAYMENT OF SALARIES:

“The Congress calls on the incoming government to review the salaries and allowances of workers. It noted with serious concern that the Minimum wage of eighteen thousand naira (N18, 000.00) which is less than $90 has not been implemented in some States. In particular, the Congress condemns all the State Governments owing workers salaries, as it is unhealthy for the nation.

“Scarcity of Petroleum Products:
“The NEC-in-session calls on the Federal Government to halt the continued scarcity of petroleum products as it impacts negatively on all components of the Nigerian economy. It calls on the Government to immediately reconvene a stakeholders meeting to address the controversies with the marketers with a view to urgently resolving the demand and supply deficit while concrete steps should be taken on the issue of local refining to put a stop to the issue of importation of petroleum products and payment of subsidy.

“Representation of TUC in Tripartite Bodies:
“The NEC-in-session reiterates its condemnation of the Government’s action despite its representations for the inclusion of the TUC in the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) in spite of the amendment to the laws establishing the labour centres. The NEC frowns at the situation in which labour laws are being reviewed by the NLAC to the exclusion of the TUC. The NEC-in-session warns for the umpteenth time that it shall no longer tolerate the flagrant violation of the trade union rights of its members, whom it is duty bound to represent and consult on their behalf on labour matters in the country.

“Pension and Gratuity: The Congress frowns at the way and manner the public office holders are paying themselves severance benefits running into billions of naira without addressing the legitimate concerns of the workers on the issue of pension and gratuity. The Congress-in-session calls on the incoming government to restore payment of gratuity along with pension.

“Insecurity in the Country: The NEC-in-session commends the Federal Government and the Armed Forces on the intense manner with which the issue of insurgency is being tackled in the North Eastern part of the country. It therefore calls on Federal Government to step up more efforts to make sure that killings, kidnapping and insurgency in the country are totally wiped out and save the country from total collapse. It calls on the Government to adequately equip and motivate the armed forces and make provision for the rehabilitation of the displaced persons.

“The Anti-Corruption War:
“NEC-in-session observes that to strengthen the war against corruption, the principle of separation of power must be maintained, thus the judiciary must be independent of the executive. It insists that the Chief Justice of the Federation and Chief Judge of each State should not be appointed by President and Governors; and Judges should not stay in the office at the pleasure of the President or Governors. The NEC-in-session essentially calls on the Government on the need to strengthen the policies and institutional framework and put in place credible individuals to curb all forms of anti-corruption practices.

“Industrial Crisis at the National Identity Management Commission:

“The NEC-in-session reviews the anti-labour activities of most government and organisations, orchestrating the impunity of throwing workers into labour market and resolved that unless they desist, the entire force of the Congress will be brought to bear on any defaulter(s). The NEC-in-session condemns in its entirety the anti-labour activities of the Director-General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), which has led to the on-going industrial crisis and the virtual collapse of the Agency and calls on President Goodluck Jonathan to save the organisation.
“ARBITRARY MANOUVERING OF OIL ASSETS OPERATORSHIP RIGHT:
“The NEC-in-session calls on the Federal Government to immediately halt and reverse the last minutes transfers of the operatorship of OML 42, OML 40 and OML 30 which are being arbitrarily handed over to Neconde Energy Limited, Eland/Elcrest and Shore Line respectively. It demands for the immediate reinstatement of the operatorship rights of the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the NNPC subsidiary that has been successfully operating the assets to avert the brewing industrial crisis in NNPC in view of the impact it will have on the ongoing transition process. A stitch in time saves nine!

“THE JOHESU AND JORAISU ISSUES: The NEC-in-session appeals with the President of the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fulfil the promise to JOHESU on February 1st 2015 that all the demands of the Union will be met immediately after the national election. Similarly, the NEC-in-session draws the attention of the Federal Government to the issues in JORAISU and urges it to address same in the interest of peace and justice.
“AILING SECTORS The NEC-in-session
calls on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency pay serious attention to ailing industry, particularly the Textile Sector of the economy that use to be the second largest employer of labour after government. Efforts should be made to collaborate with the stakeholders to see to its survival. Equally, the Paper & Paper Industry needs immediate intervention if the government is serious towards the creation of jobs for Nigerians.
“Finally, the NEC-in-session enjoins the leadership of the Congress to present to the incoming government a broad-based agenda on issues of interest and concern to labour in particular and Nigerian workers in general which will form the core of the government’s programmes.”

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