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Bayelsa to commence payment of wage awards, gratuities to LG workers, retirees

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Bayelsa to commence payment of wage awards, gratuities to LG workers, retirees

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Fellow Press

Bayelsa Government has assured that it would kickstart the payment of wage awards to all local government employees, with effect from August, to cushion the excruciating effects of fuel subsidy removal on the workers.

The state Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the assurance on Monday at a meeting with Local Government Stakeholders, including the Eight Caretaker Committee Chairmen, labour leaders and principal officers of the Local Government Areas (LGAs) at Government House, Yenagoa.

He announced that the state government, in collaboration with the local government councils, would also ensure the payment of gratuities to councils’ retirees who were yet to benefit.

He informed that government had approved 30% payment of the gratuities across board for the retirees, which would also take effect from August.

On the wage awards, the deputy Governor said council workers on grade levels one to six will now earn N20,000 as additional salary, grade levels seven to 10, N30,000, while those on grade levels 12 to 14 will now have N40,000 added to their salaries.

He added that government had also approved N50,000 as wage awards to council employees on grade level 15 to 17, while Heads of Local Governments will earn N100,000 as additional salary.

He said: “While waiting for the reliefs from the Federal Government, we are proposing a wage award for local government employees.

“The Governor has given anticipatory approval but I believe he will give the final approval this week. And we will start implementing the approval.

“That is why I have always encouraged local government workers to be patient with us. We are aware of your sufferings and the state government will not hesitate to intervene.

“On gratuities, we have also made some proposal, which we want the local governments to support us. The proposal is that, we should pay 30 per cent across board to all those who have retired from wherever the payment stopped to 2022 and one month in 2023.

“Our plan is for every local government retiree to get something at the end of this month (August). The Governor has already approved this. We are only going to raise a committee to supervise the payment because we still have some grey areas to address,” he said.

Ewhrudjakpo, who commended local government workers and retirees for their understanding and patience, assured that the Prosperity Administration would continue to take steps to address issues concerning their welfare.

On the ongoing data capturing exercise for the computerization of staff on the Oracle Payroll System, the deputy governor appealed to the workers’ union at the local government level to be a little bit patient with government to test run the software and make necessary corrections before full take-off.

Responding to questions raised by some of the stakeholders, the Bayelsa Number Two Man assured that approval would be given for the conduct of the 2023 senior staff promotion exercise, due in 2023, to bring them at par with their state counterparts.

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Breaking: Rotten tomatoes, pepper dangerous — Doctor warns Nigerians

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

A medical doctor, identified simply as Wales, has warned Nigerians to stay away from rotten tomatoes and pepper, known as ‘eesa’ or ‘baaje’ tomatoes.

In a clip that went viral on social media, Wales stated that the continuous consumption of rotten tomatoes and/or pepper posed several health risks, and could lead to cancers, due to the presence of harmful microorganisms such as fungi, known to produce mycotoxins.

Displaying rotten tomatoes on a plate, the doctor stressed that the tough economic situation should not be a reason for people to eat ‘poison’.

He said, “Fellow Nigerians, good morning. I know that, because of the economy, you are saving money on so many things. But please, if you see this thing, (rotten tomatoes and peppers) in the market, run away.

“Just because we are in a ‘rogbodiyan’ (tough) economy does not mean you should start eating poison, because this type of tomato can cause cancer.

“Fresh tomatoes are vegetables rich in Vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. Rotten tomatoes, however, aren’t fresh in any way but are soft pieces of piled tomatoes sold at cheaper prices to people who cannot afford the fresher options.

“And, because they are broken, this type of tomatoes are easily accessible to flies, which deposit germs and eggs inside them. But, that’s not the worst part. As these tomatoes break, microorganisms invade them, causing them to rot. Among these microorganisms are fungi known to produce something known as mycotoxins. Meanwhile, mycotoxins have been linked to cancers and induction of immune deficiency in humans. And, because tomatoes contain lots of fluid, these mycotoxins spread faster to all parts of the tomatoes.”

The medical doctor also stated that boiling and washing the tomatoes would not rid them of the mycotoxins, which not only cause cancer but can also damage the kidney and liver.

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Minimum Wage: ₦‎250,000 demand not sacrosanct – TUC

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Festus Osifo said yesterday that there was nothing sacrosanct about the N250,000, adding that labour was receptive to adjustments.

There was no immediate response from the federal government last night on the latest stance of organised labour, although the Senate yesterday pledged to grant accelerated consideration and passage of the new minimum wage bill from President Bola Tinubu.

Only last Wednesday, the acting President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Prince Adewale Adeyanju, said labour’s demand “remains N250,000, and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position, which we consider a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process.”

Adeyanju was responding to the Democracy Day broadcast of President Bola Tinubu in which he said an agreement had been reached on the new national minimum wage.

Osifo himself in his first reaction to the FG and OPS agreement on N62,000 as minimum wage penultimate Friday had said “for us (labour), we felt that with the current economic hardship and the difficulty in the land, the sum of N250,000 should be what will be okay as the minimum wage.

But speaking yesterday on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, The Morning Brief, he said there was “no figure that is sacrosanct; there is no figure that is cast in stone that both parties will be fixated on it.”

He added: “What we said is that for us, when we give figures, there is always a room to meander; there is always a room for us to do some adjustment here and there.

“One of the reasons that we went on industrial action the last time was because when it got to N60,000, they told us that a kobo could not even join the N60,000; that they could not even add one naira to it.

“So that was one of the reasons that led to that industrial action beyond the fact that there were also delays.”

President Tinubu is expected to send an executive bill to the National Assembly on the new minimum wage for legislative action.

The TUC President said that they are not going to pre-empt the President, but they are making all efforts to justify why Tinubu should tilt towards the figure presented by the labour instead of the one by the organised private sector and the government.

He said that if the President sends a figure that is not favourable to the labour to the National Assembly, they will still approach the lawmakers and push them to do much more.

Osifo vowed that the work of the labour leaders will not end until the Minimum Wage Act 2024 becomes law. He said it is premature to predict what labour will do if what is passed is not acceptable to them at the end of the day.

The FG and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) had on Friday, May 31 reached an agreement to pay N62,000 to their least paid worker; an increase of N2,000 on the N60,000 rejected two weeks ago by labour.

The 36 states, which were represented on the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage, said on the same day that they could not afford to pay even N60,000 while the NLC and the TUC disagreed with government and the OPS.

They said the minimum they would accept was N250,000, which is N244,000 less than the N494,000 they initially demanded.

The Tripartite Committee has already submitted its report and recommendation to the President, who is expected to take a decision on the final figure to be sent by way of an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for consideration.

The TUC President said while labour was not disposed to pre-empting the President on his decision, the unions were keen on ensuring that Tinubu tilts toward the figure presented by labour instead of the N62,000 by government and OPS.

He said should the President decide on a figure labour finds unfavourable, it will take its struggle to the lawmakers to convince them for an increase.

He said it was premature to predict labour’s reaction if the action of the executive and the legislature turns out to be unfavourable.

Tinubu, at a state dinner to mark Democracy Day on Wednesday had declared that his planned minimum wage is “what Nigerians can afford, what you can afford and what I can afford.”

He added: “Cut your coat according to your size, if you have size at all.”

Apart from the state governments which have expressed their inability to pay even the N60,000 which labour had rejected prior to the June 3 and 4 strike, signals from the local governments also suggest that they cannot pay N62,000.

National President of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Aminu Muazu-Maifata, said on Thursday that the LGs could not pay that amount.

Muazu-Maifata said some local governments have not even been paying their workers the ₦30,000 approved as minimum wage in 2019.

He said an affordable minimum wage should be set and not something unsustainable.

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