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Labour, Civil Society flays deduction of salaries of workers, pensioners by Kaduna Govt, other States

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The Labour Civil Society Situation Room on COVID-19 has criticised the arbitrary deduction in the salaries and pension of workers and pensioners by the Kaduna State Government and other States.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Chairman of the Labour Civil Society Situation Room, said this in a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting on Thursday in Abuja.

The meeting was held to review the recent developments pertaining to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on the economic front.

Wabba said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room reviewed the decision by the Kaduna state government and a few other states to deduct the salaries of workers in their states, including healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 challenge.

“Even worse is the threat by Gov. Nasir El-Rufai to sack affected workers if they go on strike.

”This anti-worker practice championed by the Kaduna State government violates the fundamental principles and rights at work.

“These principles and rights are key components of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) global labour standards and are also codified in our laws.

”The infringement of these rights is a crude abuse of power and akin to modern-day slavery.

“Wages are binding contracts which cannot be unilaterally or arbitrarily reviewed. It is unfortunate that while some states are giving incentives to workers at this time of grave health emergency, in line with the global trend.

“The Kaduna State Government is taking away from workers and pensioners. This is nothing but a full-blown industrial tyranny,” he said.

Wabba said the situation room was behind the ultimatum by workers in the affected states for a reversal of the unjust decision, adding it fully stands by workers’ resolve to embark on strike, if their demands were not met.

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He said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room demanded that the state governments must reciprocate Federal Government’s gesture in granting a moratorium on repayment of budget support palliatives by paying workers and pensioners their full entitlements.

“We also renew our calls for investigation on how states used the palliatives and Paris Club refunds.

“We demand that private-sector employers should stop the retrenchment of workers in the guise of COVID-19 as such moves would only impair efforts geared at economic revitalisation,” he said.

Wabba said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room applauded the Federal Government for reversing the directive by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to place workers on half salaries based on the claims of the shortfall in revenue owing to COVID-19.

“This is the way to go for all employers in the public and private sectors in order to protect the livelihood and dignity of workers.

“The continued incidence of job losses, income deprivation and denial of the means of livelihood for workers by some employers in Nigeria on the excuse of COVID-19 is a source of worry to us,” he said.

The NLC president, therefore, said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room recommended that for the immediate term, governments should adopt a measured approach to the fallout of COVID-19.

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Wabba said the government should not cut down on budgetary allocations to education, health, agriculture and infrastructure as these sectors were critical for the needed economic rebound and growth.

He also said the government should unfreeze the embargo on public sector jobs, adding that hike in user access charges on public utilities should be shelved for the next six months.

“Given the abuse of security votes by many political officeholders. we call for the scrapping of security votes from public budgeting in Nigeria.

“We call on political office holders to reduce their salaries and allowances in order to free up finances for other areas of national developmental needs.

“We also call for an end to medical and education tourism for elected public officials and their families.

“We call for an immediate stop to the practice of borrowing to finance consumption.

“We call for foreign loans where necessary to be tied exclusively to capital projects with feasible income and debt repayment potentials cum projections,” he said.

Wabba also called for accelerated disbursement of palliatives and loans to workers in the informal sector.

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He said that this should be transparent, inclusive and monitored by mass-based groups, adding that the conditions for access to the loans should be minimal to deepen access.

Wabba said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room also recommended that the budgetary and planning process in Nigeria should be overhauled to become more socially inclusive, citizens-centred, value objective and reflective of real national developmental needs.

“We call on the National Assembly to set in motion legislative processes to deliver the promises of Chapter Two of Nigeria’s Constitution.

“On the budget process, we must cut our cloth according to our materials. We must discard the use of assumptive and deficit budgets that cannot be funded by available resources and heavily dependent on local and foreign loans, especially for recurrent expenditure.

“We call for the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex, proper governance for our solid minerals sector, the revival of moribund textile factories and other manufacturing concerns as a demonstration of our commitment to economic diversification,” he said.

Wabba said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room reiterates its commitment to defend jobs, wages and livelihoods.

He added that all interventions in this crisis must be geared at enhancing productivity, stimulating economic growth, promoting diversification of the economy and mobilising and empowering national productive forces.

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Covid-19: Only private schools that meet laid down conditions will resume- Ekiti govt

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The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Foluso Daramola, on Wednesday said only Private schools that meet conditions and criteria laid down by the State Government would reopen for academic activities in July.

Daramola said this in a statement signed by the Ministry’s Assistant Director of Information, Mr Kunle Adeniyi, in Ado-Ekiti.

The commissioner, represented by the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Education, Dr Bimpe Aderiye, said this during a meeting in Ado-Ekiti with the Proprietors of Private Schools across the state.

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He said that the schools must have at least two infrared thermometers to ascertain the temperature levels of both teachers and pupils.

Daramola said that the schools must show evidence of the fumigation of their school environment, maintaining social distancing and the other COVID-19 protocol directives at any given time.

”The Ministry will work in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Human Services, to train focal persons for each school on how to manage students with high temperature and handle suspected cases of Coronavirus infection.

”The state government has constituted a 21-member committee to monitor the COVID-19 pre- and post-school resumption in the state to ascertain the level of compliance,” he said.

In his reaction, the President of Private School Owners in the State, Rev. Williams Olufemi, said the association would support the state government in combating the spread of COVID-19 in Ekiti.

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Olufemi however, appealed to the state government to incorporate members of his association into the COVID-19 committee of the Ministry of Education.

He said this would make it easy to identify and locate all the private schools in the state to enable the government to monitor them effectively.

Present at the meeting were the Chairman Board for Technical and Vocational Education, Mr Kayode Babade, his counterpart from Teaching Service Commission, Chief Babatunde Abegunde, representatives from SUBEB, and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mr James Owolabi.

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Gideon Bakare: RCCG sacks Pastor for attempting adultery

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The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) has sacked one of its pastors, Gideon Bakare, who was caught on camera for attempting adultery.

In a statement on Wednesday by its spokesman, Olaitan Olubiyi, the church said a viral video that showed Bakare in a compromising position with a wife of a member of the church’s branch in Akure, Ondo state capital, is disturbing and distasteful.

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Olubiyi noted that the church has excommunicated Bakare and relieved him of all ministerial duties for putting the church in a bad light.

“The Redeemed Christian Church of God has excommunicated Mr Gideon Bakare and relieved him of all ministerial duties in the Mission,” the statement read.

“Bakare, who was an Assistant Pastor in the Church was recently accused of an attempted act of adultery with a woman in her matrimonial home in Akure, Ondo State.

“The Church dissociated itself from such an immoral act of Mr Bakare and described it as being completely contrary to the core values, doctrines, beliefs and practices of the RCCG and the undiluted word of God.

“The Church, after reviewing the report of her investigation, noted that by his conduct, Bakare has not only tainted his personal reputation but has portrayed the Church in a bad light.

”Mr Bakare has therefore been directed to return all official items in his custody and stay off all associated connections with the Mission with immediate effect.”

 

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Namibia to ground national carrier’s license over cash hole

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Cash-strapped Air Namibia will have its planes grounded at midnight on Wednesday after it failed to secure enough funding to remain solvent, voiding its air licence, the transport authority said.

The airline, which operates 10 aircraft on continental and one international route, with a staff of close to 800, requires around 8 billion Namibian dollars ($469 million) to stay afloat, but only received a tenth of that in last month’s budget.

“This is scarcely 12% of the amount stated as needed by the management of the airline,” the head of the Transport Commission, Eldorette Harmse, said in a statement.

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The withdrawal of its air licence means it is prohibited from operating commercial flights. It will however be permitted to undertake humanitarian evacuation and repatriation flights under its non-scheduled air services licence, which is valid for the duration of the State of Emergency due to the coronavirus.

The firm’s financial woes pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged air travel around the world due to the stand-still in tourism. It has failed to produce financial statements in recent years, a requirement of Namibia’s Air Services Act.[nL8N2E95IM]

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In January it faced serious allegations around safety, operations, and its finances, contained in an audit report published by German airline Lufthansa. It has yet to resolve those issues.

Air Namibia also owes its main creditor, the now-defunct Belgian company ChallengeAir SA, 12.3 million euros ($13.88 million). The European firm has applied to the Namibian High Court to have the carrier liquidated.

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In addition to its Windhoek-Frankfurt offering, the carrier operates busy regional routes to Cape Town, Luanda and Harare, attracting buying interest from bigger carriers like Ethopian Airlines, Lufthansa and South African Airways, according to local media reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reuters

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