Stories by Bimbola Oyesola
Industrial action may stall resumption in the 102 unity schools across the country, as Organised Labour has threatened to shut down the schools due to failure of the Federal Government to pay workers outstanding allowances in Kings College, Lagos and Federal Government College, Idoani, Ondo State.
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) said it has concluded mobilization to shut down unless the Federal Government takes urgent steps to pay the salary of Education Officers outstanding since May 2016 in the Schools.
The Secretary-General of the union, Alade Bashir Lawal, warned that Education Officers in the Schools would not resume classes on Thursday 15th September 2016 unless the salary owed them since May 2016 were paid by Wednesday 14th September 2016.
He regretted that since May 2016 Education Officers in King’s College, Lagos and Federal Government College, Idoani, Ondo State have been put in a situation of financial embarrassment in violation of Public Service Rules (PSR).
He said, “It seems that the decision not to pay salaries to Education Officers in these schools since May is an experiment which will be extended to other schools in due course if there is no resistance from the workers and their Trade Unions as the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office of the Federation have continued to shift blames on the matter.”
The secretary general emphasised that the other 102 Federal Unity Colleges have been mobilized to join the strike if the Federal Government still refused to pay Education Officers in the two schools their salaries because “injury to one is injury to all”.
He recalled that during the last Federal Administrations, salaries and allowances including promotion arrears were not paid to some categories of officers and the Association is still battling to have those arrears of workers’ legitimate entitlements settled.
He expressed that it is unfortunate that the present Federal Government which promised to change the content and form of governance for the better had started to owe workers their salaries after they had rendered service to the country.
He added, “The salaries of civil servants are meagre and could not take them to the bus stop let alone take them home when paid regularly, now that the salaries could not be paid at all, it had been a tale of hardship for Education Officers some of whom could no longer afford to buy medication to treat themselves after going to the hospitals and getting prescriptions.
“It is indeed sad that the Federal Government has decided to subject these workers and their families to untold hardship whereas the welfare of the citizens is the main reason why governments exist in the first instance.”
Lawal therefore, urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps and ensure that salaries of Education Officers in King’s College, Lagos, and Federal Government College, Idoani, Ondo State, outstanding since May 2016 were paid without further delay so as to douse tension that had been building up not only in the two schools but also in the other 102 Federal Unity Colleges over the issue.
The Union accordingly advised parents and guardians not to release their children and wards to resume classes at King’s Colleges and Federal Government Colleges, Idoani, Ondo State by 15th September 2016 in order not to subject them to avoidable hardship unless the salaries owed Education Officers in the schools were paid by Wednesday 14th September 2016.
ILO raises the alarm over rising unemployment
… Hails G20 leaders’ commitment on inequality and job deficits
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has alerted that youth unemployment was rising again and likely to reach 13.1 per cent in 2016.
This is even as it has hailed the commitment taken by G20 leaders to tackle the rising inequality and job deficits.
Director-General of the ILO, Guy Ryder at the G20 Summit in Beijing said leaders from across the G20 countries spoke frankly about the economic and political risks caused by slow growth and weak employment prospects.
According to the global body unemployment in 2016 is inching close to its historic peak; meaning 71 million jobless young people.
But Ryder said, “The agreements reached at the Hangzhou Summit show signs of a shift towards a more balanced policy response to the challenges of slow growth, high unemployment and underemployment, inequality, and continuing rapid structural change,” he commented.
Addressing inclusiveness the Summit communiqué commits the G20 to “work to ensure that our economic growth serves the needs of everyone and benefits all countries and all people including in particular women, youth and disadvantaged groups, generating more quality jobs, addressing inequalities and eradicating poverty so that no one is left behind.”
It also emphasizes, that for sustainable development “strengthened labour market institutions and policies can support productivity and promote decent work, and therefore higher, sustainable wage growth, in particular for the low-income workers.”
Speaking at the Summit, Mr Ryder stressed that, “the imperative of setting the inter connected global economy on a faster and more inclusive development trajectory is urgently and widely felt as are the dangerous consequences of failure”.
He pointed out that globally, unemployment and under employment was high and rising, wage incomes stagnant and inequality widening.
“The importance of social dialogue in translating global agreements into sustainable solutions cannot be overemphasized.” he said.
Ryder added, “This was feeding back into weak consumer demand, weak investment, pressure on public finances and continued slow growth. This slow growth has created social tensions, not least amongst young women and men looking to get started in working life. It was driving people to leave their communities and seek work elsewhere, often faraway.”
The ILO head also pointed out that frustrated expectations provided the tinder that inflammatory political forces can use to undermine support for open economies and societies that respect and value diversity. He added that G20 leadership was vital in reversing these trends, and the G20’s support for the UN with the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was key.
Ryder also highlighted the Declaration of the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers which recommended policies on combatting working poverty, ending discrimination, narrowing gaps in working conditions and reducing inequalities, and enhancing minimum wage mechanisms and social protection that will be critical in shaping the future of work.
He also congratulated China on engaging business and labour in the preparations for the Summit.
“The importance of social dialogue in translating global agreements into sustainable solutions cannot be overemphasized,” he concluded.