Tuesday, February 27Inside Business Africa

Reverting to old salary regime, an invitation to anarchy, Labour warns

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), has warned states t reverting to the old salary regime (Pre-2019 Minimum Wage) to desist in interest of industrial peace and harmony.

The workers described it as an invitation to anarchy.

The union disclosed that some state governments which negotiated the consequential adjustment arising from the minimum wage of N30,000 per month with organised labour, and duly signed the agreement, have suddenly reverted to the old salary regime, a decision, the union said was unilaterally taken.

Immediate past National President of ASCSN, Bobboi Kaigama, at the 4th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the association in Abuja, warned the affected states to return their salary structures to what was agreed with labour in the interest of industrial peace and harmony.

He said since April 2019, when the new salary regime for public service employees took effect, and while the federal and some state governments implemented the N30,000 per monthly National Minimum Wage and the Consequential Adjustments arising there from had been determined, negotiations were still ongoing in some states before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He called on all states that are yet to conclude the process to return to the negotiating table with a view to doing the needful, as COVID-19 should not be used as an excuse to derail the legitimate right of workers.

Kaigama said: “The issue of minimum wage is a law that is binding on all employers of labour. Observation of the law in the breach is therefore illegal and will surely meet stiff resistance from labour.”

Corroborating, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, in his address, vowed that organised labour would shut down states that were taking advantage of challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic to deny workers their salaries.

Wabba, who demanded that governors reduced their monthly allowances and security votes than to owe or cut workers’ salaries, warned that the fundamental rights of workers should not in any way be undermined.

He revealed that some governors on a monthly basis received close to N1 billion as security vote, demanding that the funds must be accounted for, as they are generated from tax payers money.

He urged states that are having difficulty paying their workers to bring it to the union’s notice for amicable resolution, noting that workers both at the formal and informal economy have been at the receiving end since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“We are taking the states one after the other. You cannot unilaterally reduce workers pay without social dialogue. Once the information is brought to our notice we will take them up. Workers can no longer be treated as slaves, but with dignity. We have notified all our affiliates, and we will do everything possible within the provisions of the law.

“In all of these, the workers and unions must be carried along. If that is not done, then they have violated the law, and we are ready to take them headlong. We will engage them through the table or through confrontation to protect workers at this vulnerable period,” Wabba said.

Kaigama, who spoke on the state of the nation and numerous challenges confronting it, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rise up to the occasion, and rejig the entire system towards bailing the country out of the current frightening state of affairs.

He said now is the time to show real leadership devoid of any sentimental consideration, noting that men with good vision and progressive ideas needed to be assembled to develop innovative ideas that will change the tide and turn Nigeria’s fortunes for good.

To address the high level of insecurity in the country, Kaigama advised the government to immediately restructure the entire security architecture.

He also called on the government to empower and motivate the personnel of all the security agencies, to enable them defend all vulnerable areas in line with the dictates of human rights and rules of engagement.
He said: “This is the time to act now, as any further delay may result in devastating consequences. We are indeed in a tough time which requires tough men to handle the numerous challenges facing the country. We must not fail as a people as posterity will not forgive us if through our actions and inactions; we allow the country to disintegrate. Failure is therefore not an option.”

Meanwhile, new national officers emerged at the meeting, where Innocent Bola-Audu was elected as the new president of the ASCSN.

Others are national vice presidents; Kennis Ngene, Olubunmi Fajobi, Tommy Okon, and Adah Terlumun, as well as Rahab Maigari, who was elected  as the national treasurer, among others.

Source: Guardian

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