Stop Cut in Workers’ Salaries to Avoid Looming Industrial Unrest in Kano ― NLC Warns Ganduje
By Soji-Eze Fagbemi – Abuja On Jan 13, 2021
The Nigeria Labour Congress on Wednesday called on the Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to stop forthwith, the recent cuts in salaries of the state workers to avoid a looming and unnecessary industrial unrest in the state.
In a letter written to the governor by the NLC, the congress also demanded that the shortfalls be reimbursed immediately, while the state government should discharge it a lawful obligation and pay the N30,000 national minimum wage as required by the law.
The letter with reference number: NLC/NS/B.12, and signed by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said: “We demand that the cuts in salaries paid to Kano State workers be stopped forthwith and the shortfalls reimbursed immediately. We also demand that the Kano State Government goes back to the lawful discharge of its obligation to pay the New National Minimum Wage of N30,000. The consequential adjustment is a product of collective bargaining which the Kano State Government is duty-bound to honour.
“While we look forward to your immediate intervention to stave off a looming but unnecessary industrial unrest in Kano State, please accept the renewed assurances of our highest esteem.”
The NLC regretted that his administration suddenly stopped paying workers the new national minimum wage, even when the state was lauded as one of the first to comply with the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act.
It also stated that his administration has reneged on the Collective Bargaining Agreement he reached with workers on the payment of consequential salary adjustment based on the new national minimum wage.
The congress rejected the reasons advanced for the cut in workers’ salaries, saying, “the claims that the reasons for this sudden volte-face include the economic crunch occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic loads this debilitating punch thrown at poor workers with quantum ferocity.
“As an expert in our laws, you know quite well that no one in our country has the privilege of cherry-picking which aspect of our laws to obey. The National Minimum Wage Act is a law which must be obeyed by every employer in Nigeria. It is not negotiable. The refusal by an employer to pay the N30000 new national minimum wage is tantamount to willful violation of our laws. Persistence in doing so can only be described as a dangerous stroll in anarchy boulevard.”
Comrade Wabba added: “If there is any time to even increase workers take home, it is now as the impact of the COVID-19 has pauperized millions of workers in the world including many of our compatriots in Nigeria.
“This is the reason why most countries of the world are supporting their workers and citizens in all manner of palliatives and even salary raises. Why should the case of Nigerian and Kano State workers be different?”
The letter read further: “Kano State has been a shining example of progressive politics in Nigeria. Your Excellency would recall that after the new national minimum wage was signed into law on May 13, 1981, Kano State Government under the Late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi without any prompting added two Naira to the one hundred and twenty-five-naira National Minimum Wage.
“Kano State also went ahead to declare May 1 as public holiday thus becoming the first state to accord workers the honour of a statewide holiday in commemoration of Workers’ Day.”
Arewa Agenda is a publication of young writers and journalists from Northern Nigeria geared towards peaceful coexistence and national development through positive narratives.