The workers of Radio Bayelsa last Monday shunned the certificate verification exercise ordered by a newly-appointed General Manager of the station, Dr John Idumange, scheduled to commence on Monday.
The Tide reports that the workers had issued a seven-day ultimatum which lapsed on January 10, to the station’s General Manager, to speedily resolve the outstanding labour crisis and restore industrial harmony.
The Tide source said that the exercise did not take off as the workers rather attended a joint congress of the two unions in the radio station.
The workers, under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Radio and Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU), resolved to shun the certificate verification after a joint congress of the unions.
The Tide was informed that more than 200 staff of the radio station christened Glory FM, attended the joint congress of NUJ and RATTAWU at the station’s premises in Yenagoa.
The meeting was presided over by the Bayelsa Chairman of NUJ, Mr John Angase, and Bayelsa Chairman of RATTAWU, Mr David Emiebi.
The unions urged the management to suspend the verification exercise within the next 48 hours or face industrial action, adding that failure to convene a meeting to resolve contentious issues with staff would compel the workforce to down tools.
Addressing the workers, Angase said that the unions had made several unsuccessful efforts to mediate between the Radio Bayelsa chapters of the NUJ and RATTAWU, and the management of the station.
“The certificate verification slated to commence on January 9, should be suspended pending a meeting with members of staff to resolve the contentious issues causing industrial disharmony.
“We are not in any way opposed to certificate verification, but we do believe that due process should be followed and the processes should be discussed with the unions.
“We want the new general manager to address the workers and unfold his plans for the station.
“We, therefore, urge every worker to boycott the exercise, pending when the general manager sees the need to meet with workers to iron things out,’’ Angase said.
The unions also alleged that the general manager had breached public service rules by compelling senior officers to take directives from their juniors.
They said that there were established procedures within the public service to deal with cases of incompetence and misconduct, as the sanctions spelt out for such offences were clear.
But in his reaction, the general manager, Dr. John Idumange, dismissed the allegations, accusing the unions of being used to sabotage efforts to reposition the station.
Idumange said that there was no going back on the verification exercise as it was authorised by the supervising ministry of information and anyone who decides not to participate would be declared a ghost worker.
“The exercise is not even my brainchild; in fact, my predecessor had compiled a list of over 200 workers for redeployment. Those who wish to continue working here should participate or risk losing their jobs.
He said that the senior officials affected by the ongoing reforms were using the unions to resist the reforms.
Idumange explained that the exercise was targeted at ensuring that employees were placed in their fields of study, as well as to fish out those with fake certificates.
“There is nothing like industrial disharmony. This small radio station has 346 workers; employment and job placement have never followed due process.
“To correct those anomalies, we are commencing a certificate and staff verification which will last for four days.
Labour Lauds Rivers Assembly Over Power Devolution
The organised labour in Rivers State has commended the Rivers State House of Assembly for backing power devolution in the country.
Speaking to The Tide, the chairperson, Nigeria Labour Congress Comrade Beatrice Itubo explained that the decision of the members of the assembly is a step in the right direction and good for the unity and stability of the country.
Itubo added that the lawmakers should call for contributions and input of the key stakeholders before passing into law several bills in the House.
She stressed that allowing critical stakeholders to make input would strengthen the tenets of democracy in the state and indeed Nigeria as majority of the people would better appreciate the bills through dissemination from the stakeholders.
She enjoined the Assembly to reexamine the issue of the local government autonomy proposed by both chambers of the National Assembly, stressing that the congress strongly believe that granting autonomy to the local government councils in Nigeria would strengthen and deepen democracy in the country.
The NLC boss added that the organised labour would continue to mobilize its members to support the assembly to perform its constitutional legislative duties in the state.
She further explained that labour in the state is prepared to partner the assembly in its determination to address the plight of the workers in the state.
She added that the organised labour would continue to commend the state government in its efforts to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
Ex-NLC Boss Tasks FG On Minimum Wage
A former President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Abdulwaheed Omar has urged the Federal Government to always implement the law on regular review of the national minimum wage to promote national growth.
Omar gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Abuja last Monday.
He said that the call for government to tackle the issue about minimum wage review had become important because of the delay in the implementation of the law.
According to him, the national minimum wage law prohibits employers from hiring workers for less than a given hourly, daily or monthly take home pay.
“The law was established to address issues faced by workers, I think the cause for review of the national minimum is welcomed; it is just that it is almost belated.
“The issue of minimum wage is an aspect of our law; it is now part of our law in Nigeria, so I did not even expect that it will take much time.
“In the first place, the law provides that the minimum wage should be reviewed every five years; the five years elapsed since 2015.
“So, I had expected that that very year government should have set up a tripartite committee then.
“It is not something that government should wait until NLC threatens to embark on strike before it sets up committee, it is about the law that should be respected,” Omar said.
He said although government had promised to review the national minimum wage by the third quarter of the year, it should put measures in place to sustain such and ensure effective implementation.
He said the N18, 000 minimum wage was long overdue for review and urged government to act promptly to improve the economic well-being of workers.
PenCom Recovers N1.34bn Pension
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has recovered pension contributions and interest totalling N1.34billion from defaulting employers during the third quarter of 2017.
The Commission in its 2017 third quarter report posted on its website said it used 55 consultants as recovery agents to get back the outstanding pension contributions and penalties from the defaulting employers.
PenCom said the affected employers were issued with appropriate notice to remit the outstanding pension contributions.
“During the quarter, the sum of N1.34 billion was recovered, this brings the total recoveries made since inception of the Recovery Agents’ activities in 2012 to N13.58 billion,” it stated.
On Pension contributions within the period, it indicates that the total monthly pension contribution by contributors from the public and private sectors into their Retirement Saving Accounts (RSA) was N4.38 trillion.
This, it said showed an increase of N135.22 billion representing 3.18 per cent over the total contributions as at the end of the previous quarter.
According to the report, the aggregate total contribution shows that the public sector contributed 51.34 per cent, while the private sector contributed the remaining 48.64 per cent.
It, however, pointed out that during the quarter under review; the public sector contributed 40.87 per cent of the total contributions received while the private sector contributed 59.13 per cent.
It further revealed that the aggregate total pension contribution of the private sector increased from N2.05 trillion as at second quarter of 2017 to N2.13 trillion as at third quarter of 2017, representing a growth of 3.89 per cent.
Also, the aggregate total pension contribution by the public sector grew by 2.52 per cent from N2.20 trillion to N2.25 trillion over the same period.
The statement noted that the commission continued the ongoing refund of contributions made by military and other security service agencies personnel exempted from the contributory pension scheme.
It added that during the quarter under review, the department responsible for military pensions processed 254 applications for the refund.
PenCom said N39.83 million was refunded to the contributors while the sum of N127.13 million, representing contributions made by the Federal Government on their behalf was returned to the contributory pension account.
The statement also indicated that 27 state governments have enacted laws to implement the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) as at the third quarter of 2017, while eight states were currently in the process of implementing the CPS law.
The report revealed that Yobe was, however, yet to commence the process of enacting a law on the CPS.
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