Government meets labour over wage saga as pensioners threaten protest

Boss Mustapha.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has met with organised labour over the minimum wage imbroglio.
The Guardian learnt yesterday in Abuja that the meeting with the president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Bobboi Kaigama, was to avert the October 30 rally and November 6 nationwide strike by the unions.
It was also learnt that the scribe demanded a full account of what transpired during earlier negotiations with a view to engaging state governments on an acceptable figure ahead of the threatened industrial action.
Also, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has threatened to picket the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) over their alleged 12-month arrears in the wake of the 33 per cent pension increase of 2010.
NUP’s national president, Dr Abel Afolayan, also demanded a harmonised pension upon approval of a new national wage. Speaking yesterday in Abuja, he cited sections 173 (3) and 210 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to justify their position. Specifically, the provisions say: “Pensions shall be reviewed every five years or together with any Federal Civil Service salary reviews whichever is earlier.”
He pointed out that the last pension review was in July 2010 and the next ought to be 2015 according to extant law, adding: “In other words, whatever amount is approved as minimum wage for workers should also apply as minimum pension for pensioners. We believe that whatever is good for the goose is also good for the gander, as both workers and pensioners go to the same market for their daily needs.”
Afolayan held that it was sheer wickedness for any government officials to oppose an upward review of workers’ pay considering the economic realities in the country. He flayed the states for claiming to be financially incapable to pay the proposed new wage, saying their action contravenes the aforementioned sections of the constitution.The pensioners therefore gave government 21 days to defray the backlog.

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