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BIG STORY

Minimum Wage: Prepare For Strike, NLC Tells Workers; Issues 4-Day Ultimatum To FG

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Sunday gave a four-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to accept its demand for the consequential adjustment of salaries, based on the new minimum wage, or risk a nationwide strike.

The ultimatum ends Wednesday, the umbrella union said in a letter to the Federal Government by its General-Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, urging the state councils to prepare for dispute.

But, to douse the brewing tension and avert the strike, Labour and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige has called for a meeting between NLC and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) tomorrow.

The minister said: “NLC and TUC leadership know the rule and what the ILO statutes say on such situation. So, we will continue our effort on Tuesday.”

Also, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, appealed to workers to shelve the proposed strike.

Warning that the strike may amount to an exercise in futility, he cautioned workers against uncritically confusing minimum wage increment with general wage review.

Fayemi, who shed light on the scope of the new minimum wage, urged workers to take into consideration the country’s economic situation before embarking on industrial action.

He told reporters in Lagos that increase in minimum wage does not translate into a general wage review.

After the first phase of negotiations collapsed due to percentage differences between the two parties, the Federal Government’s negotiating team and the JNPNC, which is representing labour unions, are expected to meet again tomorrow.

Labour is demanding 29 per cent salary increase for officers on salary level 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 to 17 as against the Federal Government’s offer of 11 per cent for officers on grade level 07 to 14 and 6.5 per cent for workers of grade level 15 to 17.

The NLC letter to the state chapters reads: “You will recall that a joint communiqué was issued by the leadership of the NLC, Trade Union Congress and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council stating that after two weeks from the date of the said communiqué, industrial harmony could not be guaranteed in the country, should an agreement not be reached with the Federal Government on the consequential adjustment of salaries as a result of the new minimum wage of N30, 000.

“You are hereby directed to coordinate preparations with TUC and JPSNC in your state for necessary industrial action should the time expire without an agreement as contained in the communiqué.”

Organised labour also faulted comments by Ngige that they misinterpreted minimum wage to mean general salary review.

The Secretary-General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Alade Lawal, described the minister’s comment as a political gimmick meant to distract the union ahead of the expiration of the ultimatum.

Ngige had told members of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) last Thursday that the Federal Government had not commenced total implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage because organised labour mistakenly perceived consequential adjustment in salary as total salary review.

The ASCSN secretary-general said labour understood its demands from the Federal Government for workers.

Lawal said the NLC had earlier written to the government for general salary review for workers.

He said: “From the memo on general salary review, which we had earlier submitted, we were asking for N777, 000 for Grade level 17 step one and for Grade level one step one we are asking for seventy-something thousand.

“If we are asking for that and we are negotiating for 29 per cent and 24 per cent, is that the same thing? So, it shows you that we understand what we are saying.”

Lawal said that the minister’s claim that the government’s personnel budget had risen astronomically to N3.08 trillion from N1. 88 trillion between 2016-2020 was not true.

Lawal added: “What he (Ngige) said is not correct. We understand what we are saying and we have told him that. These are distracting strategies. We have passed that stage. Our eyes are on the ball.

“We have passed that stage of misinformation. They should tell us what percentage of personnel cost is really coming from the wages of workers as opposed to political appointees.

“They should do a breakdown and publish it in the newspapers for everybody to see, that is if they are really serious. We know their gimmicks and antics and we will not go by that one. We have passed that stage.”

Asked how far labour has gone with its mobilisation for a nationwide strike, he said: “We are mobilising. It is not everything you discuss. These are strategies and you don’t reveal your strategies. They should let us test it and see what is going to happen.”

Urging labour to have a rethink, Fayemi, who sued for peace, said it is not the wish of government for workers to down tools.

He said: “We don’t want workers to down tools, but you will recall that the governors’ proposal in the course of the tripartite negotiation was N24,500. But, after negotiation back and forth, we ended up with N30,000 and the governors,’ in principle, said ‘we will pay.’

“However, in private discussions with the President, we made it clear that this is another recipe for the future bailout. To be frank with you, I don’t even consider N30,000 a living wage in today’s Nigeria. But, you cannot promise what you don’t have. It is also a fundamental principle of labour relations because you get into trouble if you do that.

“No doubt, we settled for N30,000, but we all agreed to look for ways to boost revenues going to the states and we are working on that. We are doing reconciliation with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). All these pipeline vandalism, we have a committee headed by Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasri el-Rufaiworking on that.”

Fayemi added: “We don’t want workers to down tools. But, we made it clear during the tripartite negotiation that an increase in the National Minimum Wage is not tantamount to a general wage review.

“The fact that we moved people, who are below N30,000 to N30,000 and wherever they should be on the scale, should not automatically mean that we must increase the salaries of people on Level 17, who are on N400,000. It is a minimum wage law; it is not a general wage law.

“Yes, if you promote levels 05 or 06, they may go over what the current level 07 is earning. So, that calls for consequential adjustment, but that adjustment should not go over levels 08 and 09. The Federal Government has even agreed to do nine per cent for levels 07 to 12 and five per cent for levels 13 and above, but they said no and insisted on 45 per cent.

“Where is Nigeria going to find the money? I mean the economy is in the doldrums. Whether we openly admit or not, everyone knows. If you have an economy that earmarks N2.4 trillion for debt servicing; then, what are we talking about? So, I hope good sense will prevail and that people will be able to convince labour that it is a futile effort if they do so because Nigeria cannot pay what it doesn’t have.”

BIG STORY

Access Bank Plc Announces Strategic Update And Transactions In Furtherance Of Its Vision To Be Africa’s Gateway To The World

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Access Bank Plc (“Access Bank” or ‘’the Bank’’) announces today that it has received the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Approval-in-Principle for the Bank’s restructuring to a holding company (“HoldCo”).

The proposed HoldCo structure would enable the Bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiencies, talent retention as well as robust governance. Further details regarding the HoldCo structure will be communicated to the market in due course.

Access Bank also announces definitive agreements to bolster its market position in Mozambique and enter the South African market. This follows the recent transaction with Cavmont Bank in Zambia and further embeds the Bank’s presence in the SADC region, one of Africa’s most important trading blocs.

These transactions will result in a more connected African banking network that builds on Access Bank’s existing foundation and enhances its value proposition to stakeholders, including customers and employees. Shareholders will benefit from the economies of scale of a larger banking network, including the associated cost efficiencies arising from the Bank’s federated IT system and the replication of investments in innovative products across a wider range of markets.

A broader and connected Africa network remains a core strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification, which will further enhance profitability and risk metrics. Through these transactions, Access Bank will be well placed to promote regional trade finance and other cross-border banking services, further leveraging its presence in key global trade corridors in the UAE, the UK, China, Lebanon, and India.

Strategic Entry and Acquisition in Mozambique

Access Bank announces that it has received regulatory approvals to commence operations in Mozambique under the name Access Bank Mozambique, S.A. (“Access Bank Mozambique”).

Access Bank also announces that its subsidiary, Access Bank Mozambique, has entered into a definitive agreement with ABC Holdings Limited (“ABC Holdings”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlas Mara Limited (“Atlas Mara”) to acquire African Banking Corporation (Moҫambique), S.A., (“BancABC Mozambique”) for cash, in a combination of definitive and contingent consideration.

This transaction will be funded from the capital invested by the Bank in Access Bank Mozambique and will result in the Access Bank Mozambique becoming the 7th largest bank in the country, up from the 20th. As an enlarged business, Access Bank Mozambique will have an enhanced capacity to play a more impactful role in the growth of the Mozambican economy, particularly in the emerging oil and gas sector, an industry that Access Bank has deep experience in.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary conditions precedent.

 

Strategic Investment in South Africa

Building on its strategy of delivering a robust banking operation that connects key African markets, Access Bank has entered into a definitive agreement with GroCapital Holdings (“GroCapital”) to invest in Grobank Limited over two tranches. The first is an initial cash consideration for a 49% shareholding, increasing to a majority stake in the second tranche. Both tranches are subject to various regulatory approvals and the overall transaction subject to Grobank’s shareholder approvals.

GroCapital, whose shareholders include the Public Investment Corporation – Africa’s largest investment manager, and Fairfax Africa Holdings – a leading global investor, will retain an existing but diluted shareholding in Grobank.

A presence in South Africa will serve as a cornerstone for further momentum in delivering on Access Bank’s mission to be Africa’s Gateway to the World. The proposed transaction is expected to provide access to the largest banking market in Africa and enable Access Bank to consolidate its Southern African and broader African footprint with enhanced capabilities to fulfill the needs of multi-national clients.

Speaking on these developments Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO Access Bank said:

We have consistently said that we are focused on building the scale needed to become a leading African bank; one that leverages our experienced and growing talent base and key stakeholder partnerships towards driving sustainable impact and profitability. Today’s announcement demonstrates further commitment to delivering our strategic aspirations of becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World in line with our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank.

These transactions will significantly strengthen our presence in Southern Africa and further our footprint for growth in the SADC region. With a broader presence across the continent, Access Bank will be better placed to support our customers who are increasingly looking towards intra Africa growth. The proposed transactions will accelerate the Bank’s momentum towards delivering world-class banking services to an expanded customer base across Africa. Our goal remains to reach and impact 100 million unique customers across the continent.’’

 

 

SUNDAY EKWOCHI

COMPANY SECRETARY

FRC/2013/NBA/00000005528

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BIG STORY

GTBank Fashion Weekend Returns for the 5th Year, Holds Nov. 14 – 15, Call for Exhibitors Now Open

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Foremost financial institution Guaranty Trust Bank plc has confirmed that the 5th edition of Africa’s premier fashion event, the GTBank Fashion Weekend, will hold on Saturday, November 14, and Sunday, November 15, 2020.

The two-day event will feature fashion-leaders and industry experts from around the world, whilst providing hundreds of indigenous small fashion businesses with the opportunity to expand their online presence, reach new markets, and position their businesses for sustainable growth.

Themed “The Future of Fashion Retail,” the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend event will feature a hybrid of online and physical experiences, including Online Master Classes, an Immersive Online Shopping Experience with Free Delivery Nationwide, and a Runway Show.

In line with its vision of Promoting Enterprise, the Bank will provide an e-commerce platform that will allow hundreds of small businesses connect with thousands of consumers that are online, whilst providing fashion lovers with an immersive online shopping experience. The Bank will provide custom-built online retail stalls for free and, at the same time, fully sponsor all promotional activities to drive visibility and sales for all the fashion brands that will be a part of the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend.

In addition to its innovative fashion retail experiences, the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend will feature a series of online masterclasses facilitated by renowned fashion industry experts.
A “must-attend” for entrepreneurs and fashion enthusiasts, the masterclasses have been designed to deliver the same quality in content and engagement as previous years, through interactive webinars that will focus on exploring new and exciting ways to build and sustain fashion brands in these times and the future.

The Runway Show will also keep its place at the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend. Designed with current realities in mind, the Runway Show will feature a carefully curated ensemble of bold and enthralling fashion statements by Africa’s Finest Fashion Brands, delivered in a socially distanced environment.

Commenting on the 2020 GTBank Fashion Weekend, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of GTBank, Segun Agbaje, said; “Fashion is more than just art or endeavour, it is a way of life, and as we make adjustments to how we live in these new realities, we are also reimagining how we create value for small businesses, the local fashion industry and our customers through the GTBank Fashion Weekend. This year, key parts of our fashion experience will go online, but the focus remains the same; to drive the growth of our fashion industry by promoting enterprise for small businesses in the sector.”

He further stated that “At GTBank, we will continue to lend the full weight of our franchise to safeguarding lives and livelihoods not only by leading the fight to curtail the Covid-19 outbreak, but also creating and championing initiatives that help businesses and individuals thrive.”

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BIG STORY

Ondo 2020: Mimiko Is Not My Friend, He Remains My Bogus Enemy For Life —- Akeredolu [VIDEO]

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As the date for the Ondo State gubernatorial election draws closer, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has described his predecessor and former governor Olusegun Mimiko as one of the main enemies standing against his re-election bid on October 10.

Governor Akeredolu stated while featuring live on the Channels TV popular programme, ‘Politics Today’ which was monitored by our correspondent.

Recall that the former governor Mimiko, at the weekend in Ile-Oluji, Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo Local Government Area of the state during the campaign tour of Agboola Ajayi, described his friend and successor in office, Akeredolu, as a disappointment to the good people of the state, saying APC and Akeredolu run an anti-people government in the state.

But Akeredolu, while replying, described Mimiko as a “bogus enemy (sic)”, saying it is better for both of them to separate and go on their separate ways.

The governor, who is seeking re-election, alleged that Mimiko has politically betrayed him as a friend.

Akeredolu said: “I took him (Mimiko) as a friend but I doubt if truly he is my friend. I am not somebody that hides feelings. Reference to him as my friend may probably not be right. To me, he is a bogus enemy and I think he remains so I think for life.

“It is better for us to separate and go our ways because with a friend like him, you don’t need an enemy, so you don’t play this high level of betrayal in politics.

“For me, I am not interested in his own politics, if he thinks he is playing politics, he is fooling himself but for me am not human and I can tell you today that both of them, former Chief Judge of Ondo State, Sehinde Kumuyi and Mimiko are my bogus enemies and they will remain forever. I know God will forgive me, I know that am going to survive it and they will regret the action for life.”

 

Video Credit: Channels TV

 

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