By Bashir Bello
The Kano State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has on Wednesday given a two weeks ultimatum to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in protest of the cut down of the worker’s salary or face strike action.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of an emergency joint meeting of the NLC, TUC, JPSNC, ULC, JOHESU, AMLSN, NSP, NANNM, PSN, MHWUN, ARN, EHOAN, NACHPN in Kano on Wednesday.
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They demanded a stop to the illegal and illogical deductions of workers salaries for the month of May 2020 in addition to a demand for clear incentives and policy on life insurance cover to all category of workers who are at the frontline management of the Covid-19 patients in the state and full implementation of the signed agreement between Government and Labour side (JNC) reached in December 2019 on consequential adjustments arising from the implementation of N30,000:00 minimum wage among others.
The labour leaders said failure by Kano State Government to meet its demand within 14 working days effective from Wednesday 27th May 2020 to Monday 15th June, workers would be left with no option than to embark on the strike action.
The State Chairman, Comrade Kabiru Ado Minjibir while addressing newsmen in the state said, “The Leadership of organized labour in the state comprising NLC, TUC, JPSNC, ULC, JOHESU, AMLSN, NSP, NANNM, PSN, MHWUN, ARN, EHOAN, NACHPN, and their affiliates met and deliberated extensively on the recent deductions of May -2020 workers salaries across all Cadre of workers from State, Local Government, Judiciary, Tertiary Institutions, and Subeb among others and other issues affecting workers welfare in the state civil service amidst the COVID – 19 Pandemic.
“The meeting observes the following as workers grievances, that convention 95 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) which Nigeria is a signatory under the protection of wages convention, 1949 (No.95) provides, “deductions from wages shall be permitted only under conditions and to the extent prescribed by national laws or regulations or fixed by collective agreement or arbitration award”. Also, the same Article 8(2) provides that ”Workers shall be informed, in the manner deemed most appropriate by the competent authority, of the conditions under which and the extent to which such deductions may be made”. Nigeria Labour Act, 1974 part 1 – protection of wages No.5 – Deductions (including deductions for over-payment of wages) subsection (1) provides “Except where it is expressly permitted by this Act or any other law no employer shall make any deduction or contract with a worker, or for any payment to the employer by the worker, for or in respect of any fines: provided that, with the prior consent in writing of an authorized labour officer, a reasonable deduction may be made in respect of injury or loss caused to the employer by the willful misconduct or neglect of the worker” therefore, the month of May 2020 deductions of workers salaries by Kano State Government without the consent of the Labour Side is Illegal.
“The Kano State Government violated the existing minimum wage law 2019 which is a product of tripartite committee entered into agreement sent to the legislature by the executive body and signed by Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We demand to stop the illegal and illogical deductions of workers’ salaries for the month of May 2020.
“Similarly, the Government fails to implement fully the signed agreement of the consequential adjustment arising from the implementation of N30,000:00 minimum wage to workers at Local Government, Primary Health Care and Subeb (Primary School Teachers), Tertiary Institutions and Ministry of Justice thereby unilaterally implement partially without the consent of the labour side representing them.
“The Government also did not renege its promise for the payment of April-November 2019 arrears to workers from the implementation of consequential adjustment arising from N30,000:00 minimum wage as agreed with labour side (JNC) on 19th December 2019.
“That, Health Care and other frontline workers (e.g. media) currently in contact with COVID – 19 Patients, testing and/or taking body specimen are at high risk of exposure to Covid-19 and should be categorized and motivated with occupational safety incentives, hazard allowances and clear policy on life insurance cover as implemented by the Federal Government.
“The meeting demand for clear incentives and policy on life insurance cover to all categories of workers who are at the frontline management of the Covid-19 patients in the state.
“In the light of the above, failure by Kano State Government to meet with the above-stipulated demands by the organized labour, its affiliates and other stakeholders within fourteen (14) working days effective from today Wednesday, 27th May 2020 to Monday, 15th June 2020, the organized labour, its affiliates and other stakeholders will have no option rather than embark on Seven (7) Days Warning Strike from 12:00am of Monday 15th June 2020 to Monday, 22nd June 2020 after which the organized labour and other stakeholders will be met and review the development for next line of action. So, this communiqué serves as fourteen (14) days Ultimatum to the Kano State Government,” Minjibir however stated.