Kano State councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), on Friday, said should the state government further deduct from the civil servants’ salary and pension, it would take “appropriate legal and/or industrial action to seek for redress”.
The warning was issued by the trio through their leaders: Kabiru Ado Minjibir (NLC), Mansur Isah (TUC) and Hashim Saleh (JNC) at a press conference on Friday that also had the leader of the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) in attendance.
Minjibir, who read the position of the labour leaders, said they were concerned by news making rounds in the state that the state government had reversed the minimum wage of N30,600 to N18,000 “and to avoid taking chances, the Congress reached out to the relevant stakeholders in government.”
It was reported on Wednesday that civil servants in the state have been left confused and dissatisfied with slashes in their November and December salaries, to which the state government said it was caused by the dwindling economy.
But the organised labour told newsmen in the report that it rejected the government’s reasons for the deduction and would soon communicate its next line of action.
In the press release on Friday, Minjibir noted that the two labour centres (NLC and TUC) as well as the JNC met and resolved that minimum wage “is a product of tripartite negotiation and cannot therefore under whatever circumstances be subjected to unilateral review.”
Minjibir said the impact of COVID-19 on the economy that was given as the reason by state government was not satisfactory, noting that it is not only Kano that was ravaged by the pandemic but states like Lagos which has been more hit by the pandemic is still paying full salary and pensions.
He added that during previous recession, Kano State government continued paying full salaries by augmenting the income of the state with the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), as such the recession reason also was not satisfactory.
The labour leaders further said the level of maturity they exhibited “arising from the unilateral deduction of salary and pension of workers and pensioners in November and December, 2020 should not be taken for granted by the government.
“The labour centres are not ready to accept any further unilateral deduction of pension and salary or any other legitimate earning of any worker or pensioner in the state and urge government to immediately refund the deducted amounts for both workers and pension in the months of November and December, 2020.”
They added that “Should there be any further deduction, reversal or any foul play on salary or pension under whatever excuse, the Labour Centres would be left with no any other alternative that to take appropriate legal and/or industrial action to seek for redress.”
“We, therefore, hereby urge the state government to desist from taking further measure that will damage its established reputation in terms of payment of salary and pension over the years, otherwise, the Labour Centres would not guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the state”, they said.
Similarly, they said they support and may soon join the legal action instituted by the state’s chapter of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) wherein an exparte order has been granted restraining the state government from further deduction from salaries.
Workers and pensioners in state were thereafter urged “to remain on alert and await further directives from the leadership of organised labour in the state and at same time engage in prayers so as to overcome the challenges.”