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Labour seeks panel on new national minimum wage

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The Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN) has advised the Federal Government to constitute a panel to negotiate new national minimum wage.

In an address delivered on Tuesday in Enugu by the National President of ASCSN, comrade Bobboi Kaigama at the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Association, the group explained that “the massive devaluation of the Naira has made nonsense of the take home pay of an average Nigerian worker particularly the civil servants”.

 Kaigama in a paper sent to newsmen said: “Monthly emoluments of workers can no longer take them to the bus stop let alone taking them home.  The current minimum wage of N18,000 came into force in March, 2014 meaning that it is long overdue for re-negotiation.

“It is worthy of note that the Palliative Committee set up by the Federal Government to fashion out measures to cushion the effect of petroleum price increase on the people had since concluded its assignment and established the framework for the negotiation of a new National Minimum Wage.

“The Federal Government, instead of inaugurating the Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee has been dilly dallying on the matter.   We therefore appeal to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency inaugurate the panel to do the negotiation so that a new National Minimum Wage for the Country can be arrived at in the next few months”.

The union also alleged diversion of bailout funds to states: “All efforts by this Union in particular and the labour movement in general to remedy the dire state faced by workers in terms of prompt payment of salaries and pensions have proved abortive despite the release of bailout funds and the Paris Club refunds to States by the Federal Government.

“As we speak, many states are still owing their workers between five (5) and ten (10) months’ salaries and pensions arrears.

“Some of the worst hit states include Benue, Bayelsa, Nasarawa, Kogi, Ondo, Oyo and Ekiti.   Osun State workers on their part have been on half-salaries since July 2015.   As a trade union and a major stakeholder, the Association decries this most unfortunate situation of non-utilisation of bailout funds released by the Federal Government to pay workers salaries by some States and thus calls for the immediate probe of States that are known to have diverted the funds while culprits should be made to face the full weight of the law.

 “What the erring states have done is nothing but act of terrorism against Nigerian workers.  It is nothing but share wickedness for Governors to be enjoying with members of their families leaving innocent workers to go home hungry with empty stomach.  Moreover, States ought to get their priorities right.  They have to embark on governance models that can stand the test of time.  Before the next set of bailout, we urge the Federal Government to enact rigorous clauses for benefiting states.

 “Every bailout handed over to states without rigorous conditions is simply money flushed down into some corrupt pockets.  Future bailouts should attach stringent conditions to them including settlement of all owed salary arrears and pensions”.

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