Friday, January 21, 2022

Kano workers, pensioners groan as Ganduje reverts to N18,000 minimum wage

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By Mustapha Usman
Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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There is disquiet among Kano State Government workers and pensioners, over an alleged reversal of N18,000 minimum wage by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

DAILY NIGERIAN recalls that Mr Ganduje had approved the implementation of the N30,600 new minimum wage since December, 2019.

But six months after implementation, the governor slashed the salaries of the civil servants by 10% to 23%, prompting labour unions to issue a two-week ultimatum to the state government.

After series of meetings with the organised labour, an agreement was reached that the state government should continue the payment of the N30,600 minimum wage, but would slash the arrears from January to May.

However, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that the governor failed to respect the agreement and even reverted to old salary regime of N18,000 as minimum wage.

In November and December, sources told our correspondent that the governor did not only pay the salary using the old minimum wage model, he also slashed the monthly pension of retired civil servants by 15 percent.

Speaking to newsmen in Kano, the state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Kabiru Ado-Minjibir, said the government did not consult the organised labour union before reverting to old minimum wage regime.

He noted that at no point did the labour unions reach agreement with the state government to pay salaries using the N18,000 minimum wage model during their meetings with the committee set up by the governor.

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According to him, the union was dismayed to have realised that the government had cut the December salary, even after meeting with the committee last week to resolve the issue of salary cut for the month of November.

Mr Minjibir said: “After we noticed the salary cut for the month of May, we issued a two-week ultimatum to the government, which then set up a committee to resolve the matter.

“After the meetings, we had agreed with the government’s reason for cutting the salaries but on condition that the arrears would be paid subsequently. At no point did we agree that the N18, 000 minimum wage models be reverted to.

“Even last week, in the wake of salary cut for the month of November, we sat with the committee and reached an agreement.

“But, to our dismay, as we wrote our position that we stick to the payment of salary on new regime of N30, 600, even before the letter reach the government, we heard that it had again slashed the salaries for December,” Mr Ado-Minjibir lamented.

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The chairman, therefore, stated that the NLC and its sister unions in the state did not agree with the salary cut, disclosing that the organised labour unions would soon meet and take action against the governor’s decision, in accordance with the provisions of the law.

On his part, a pensioner in the state, Mohammed Idris, lamented that instead of Mr Ganduje to continue on the five-year periodic review of pension regime, the governor had resorted to slashing the money at the expense of the “weak” retired civil servants.

Mr Idris reminded Mr Ganduje that his predecessors, governors Ibrahim Shekarau and Rabiu Kwankwaso had implemented upward review of pension in the state, lamenting that the governor had failed to follow suit.

He lamented that Mr Ganduje, who failed to implement the upward review of pension in 2017 and also refused to increase the pension after implementing the new minimum wage regime, “had now resorted to slashing the already negligible amount of the pensioners”.

“This is a sheer injustice and insensitivity to the plight of the masses by the governor. Your predecessors had increased pension for the retired civil servants in this state. Instead of you to further increase it, you are now slashing it, what an injustice.

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“The governor has no reason to slash our money. He can’t tell us that there is no money in the government coffers. If he says so, let him tell us where he took the series of bailout given by President Muhammadu Buhari to offset pension, salary and contract backlogs. Where are they?

“Where is Paris Club refund fund? Let me tell you that Ganduje has not executed projects of even one percent of the bailout he had received from the government house.

“I am an APC member, but these people are justifying the notion that they are just siphoning public funds for their own use. They are trying to loot Kano treasury without executing meaningful projects,” Mr Idris alleged.

When contacted for comment, the spokesperson of the office of the Head of Civil Service, Hajiya Bintu, said she was not authorized to speak on the matter.

She added that only the Head of Civil Service could speak on the issue but she is attending a meeting at the Government House.

Also, the spokesman of the Kano State Pension Board, Umar Kurmawa, did not return the call placed to him by DAILY NIGERIAN correspondent as at the time of filing this report.

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