Africa Labour News

CASUAL WORK BEGETS CASUAL PAY? ‘Our monthly take-home pay is N2, 500!’

They are the least paid government workers,no permanent employment, not pensionable By our reporters The first part of report was published last Sunday. The Public Relations Officer to the state Head of Service, Umar Sai’du, confirmed that some MDAs recruit casual workers depending on the nature and responsibility of such MDAs. He said: “Not all the MDAs recruit casual workers. In the Ministry of Information, for example, we have five; in Education, six; Agriculture, 10; Ministry for Housing and Environment, seven. This is how you find the numbers both at the state and local government levels. The state government is avoiding an over- bloated civil service and cost, so not many of them are recruited.’’ Labour Meanwhile, further checks uncovered that some institutions like the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Polytechnic, ATAP, employed 150 casual workers from the host communities. At the Bauchi State Television Authority, BATV, there are about five casual workers while the Bauchi Radio Corporation has 30.

A casual worker with the state Ministry of Information claimed he had spent five years on his job. “What is painful in my case is that some people came to meet me in this ministry and now are fully employed. Jobs are not easy to come by these days and I just have to continue to be patient, hoping that one day, God will remember me and it will be my turn,” he said. All MDAs in Ondo employ casual workers In Ondo, there are casual workers in all MDAs and the 18 local government councils. Sunday Vanguard gathered that the MDAs pay the casual workers between N3, 000 and N10, 000 a month from their imprest. However, many of the casual workers prefer to stay even after the imprest allocated to the ministries and other agencies of government was slashed because of the economic realities in the country. Each of the ministries in the state has no fewer than 20 casual workers. Many of them can be found in the state Water Corporation, Electricity Board, SUBEB, State Radio and Television Corporation among others. It was gathered that there are also no less than 1, 000 casual workers in the 18 local councils. The casual workers are said to be relieved of their duties after every six months and immediately re-engaged to avoid a breach of Labour Law. Ondo NLC Chairman, Bodedern Daramola, said a survey conducted in the state on casualisation in 2014/2016 showed that over 600 casual workers exist in the state public service. Stating that the union is against casualisation, Daramola lamented that when the union moved in to picket MDAs, the casual workers were said to be temporary workers on industrial attachment for three months. The labour leader said over 200 casual workers were engaged in the state Water Corporation and the Electricity Board. According to him, the casual workers seem to be satisfied with the condition of service as they insist on continuing even when their stipends were reduced drastically. Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, a casual worker in the state Ministry of Transport said she was satisfied with the N10,000 she was being paid because of the challenge of unemployment in the country. “As a married woman with a husband who is a taxi driver, I am, for now, satisfied with the stipend I am paid. Besides, I get money from other sources which may, sometimes, be three times my monthly stipend.’’ Another casual worker in the state radio and television stations said he had no choice than to remain in his duty post because of unemployment, lamenting that, as a graduate of many years, he had to feed his family. Government officials contacted denied the existence of casual workers in the public sector. CROSS RIVER:

Casual workers spend 10 years, owed 14 months Casualisation of workers in Cross River State Civil Service cuts across MDAs with some of the staff members being on the job for eight to 10 years. Many of them were engaged as ad-hoc staff following the dwindling staff strength of the workforce. In fact, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Chairman, Clarkson Otu, warned that the situation could be worse by 2023. Otu disclosed that there were casual workers in Cross River State Water Board Limited (CRSWBL), Cross River State Broadcasting Corporation, CRBC, Cross River State Geographic Information System, CRSGIS, and Cross River Internal Revenue Service, CRIRIS. Sunday Vanguard gathered that some of these workers had not been paid for about 14 to 15 months and many were being disengaged without pay. CRSWBL, for instance, was said to be indebted to some of its casual workers, being paid between N20, 000 and N30, 0000, to the tune of 14 months while their counterparts at CRBC, getting N7, 000 and above, were being owed between nine and 10 months. Speaking on the issue, the TUCN leader, Otu, said: “We condemn in totality the casualisation of workers in Cross River State. It is inhuman and unacceptable. This is why on every Workers’ Day, we always advocate for their absorption into the civil service and payroll of the state so as to give them a sense of belonging as well as job security. One of the affected workers at CRSWBL said he had been with the Water Board since 2008 but started feeling the brunt of being a casual worker two years ago when the current administration in the state took office. “As we speak, I have not been paid since November 2016. My monthly stipend is just N20, 000 out of which the bank deducts about N500. It was because we were in festive period in December that they paid us one month, it would have been 15 months now but I am still going to work. I started working with them during Sen. Liyel Imoke’s administration. I used to get bonus then but now all that has changed.’’ When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ayade, Mr. Christian Ita, said his principal had already given directive for all the casual workers to be employed as full and permanent staff. “Interviews have been conducted and letters have been issued to a lot of them too. It is a gradual process that will be taken care of. We didn’t employ them, it is a responsibility we inherited from the past administration and we are working assiduously to ensure they are absorbed… The people who sweep the roads in CUDA are always ad-hoc and, like I mentioned, we inherited a lot of the people even at CRSIRS. We are doing something about the situation,’’ Ita said. How casuals are paid in Akwa Ibom In Akwa Ibom, the state government says it does not have casual workers apart from a few engaged by Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation, AKBC.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour Matters, Unyime Usoro, said that all the workers in the state civil service are pensionable staff and paid all entitlements due to civil servants as stipulated by labour rules. Usoro, who is the immediate past Chairman of Akwa Ibom State chapter of NLC, disclosed that the only sectors in the system that engage few casual staff included the AKBC. Most of the cameramen used by the AKBC, it was learnt, are casual workers. Investigation also revealed that the most of the staff members of the task force in charge of issuing vehicle tickets in the Ministry of Transport and street sweepers introduced by the immediate past administration are mostly casual workers. It was gathered that this category of workers are paid monthly salary but are not pensionable and not entitled to allowances and benefits. MDAs, councils in Bayelsa employ casual workers Casualisation in public service is gradually fizzling out in Bayelsa State due to economic recession and reduction in the state allocation from the federation account. So, the practice is now being phased out in most of the MDAs following the slash in their overheads. Though most of the MDAs have scaled down the use of casual workers, this category of workers allegedly engaged by some senior government officials are still found in some offices. However, they are being paid by those who engaged them from their monthly overhead with the result that many are owed because of the inconsistency in the release of the overhead. An official said some of the workers, mostly cleaners and typists, were engaged privately by some senior officers in the MDAs who pay their wages, ranging from N15, 000 to N30, 000, from their pockets. However, some of the workers said they had been working for years believing their engagement would be regularised whenever embargo on employment was lifted. One of them said she was employed by the Bayelsa State Environmental Sanitation Authority as a casual staff member immediately after she graduated from the state-owned College of Health Technology in 2012. But till now, her employment is yet to be regularised. While this set of casuals is fortunate to be receiving salaries, the same cannot be said of casual staff members working for the Southern Ijaw Local Government Council. One of them said she had lost count of months of salaries being owed. She and others were employed during the last administration. Since their appointments are not regularised, they are being threatened with sack. Following the series of verification exercises, they are being accused of getting employment through the back door. “I was among those employed during the last administration and, because our employment was not regularised, now we are being told that our employment did not follow due process just because we are casual workers. It is really affecting me because, for over a year now since this administration started its verification exercises, I have not been receiving salaries.”

The Organised Labour in the state, during the last May Day, kicked against the practice. The state Chairman of TUCN, Comrade Tari Dounana, while reacting to the issue, described it as a form of slavery. “Casualisation should not be encouraged in any way because it is a form of slavery employed by employers of labour and TUCN is seriously against it.” The Special Adviser to the Bayelsa Governor on Public Affairs, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said casualization “is not the policy of this government.” No casual workers in Edo – NLC In Edo State, prior to the coming of the immediate past Governor Adams Oshiomhole in November 2008, most MDAs were flooded with casual workers, particularly in the health sector because, for many years, previous governments had not employed workers. Apart from that, many workers were also retiring after getting to the mandatory retirement age. This created a vacuum in most MDAs and it was difficult for some of them to run, particularly government-owned hospitals. Sunday Vanguard learned that there was an internal arrangement to get casual workers to bridge the gap. They were being paid stipends through the internally generated revenue of the various MDAs. But that arrangement was disrupted when the Oshiomhole administration directed that all revenues should be paid into the state government IGR account which made the MDAs, including the Hospital Management Board unable, to pay these people. It led to indebtedness and the casual workers protested. It was during the protest that Oshiomhole said he was not aware they had casual workers in the MDAs and immediately banned it. The MDAs complied with this directive and the casuals were disengaged while some were absorbed into the civil service

. Edo State Chairman of the NLC, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, who confirmed this, asserted that there is ‘’no more casualization in Edo State.’’ The state Commissioner for Employment, Wealth Creation and Cooperative, Emmanuel Usoh, said the ban placed on casualization by the Oshiomhole administration stands in the state. No casual workers in Anambra There are also no casual workers in Anambra State public service. Investigation by Sunday Vanguard showed that everybody working in the civil service in the state was duly employed by the state Public Service Commission. The only issue in the state was the 26 months gratuity owed retired local government workers and the state Chairman of the NLC, Chief Jerry Nnubia, said there were no signs that they would be paid so soon. How Ebonyi, Abia eradicated casualisation In Ebonyi, the state Head of Service, Chief Chamberlin Nwele, said the issue of casualization of workers had been eradicated in the civil service since 2015. “As we talk now, there is nothing like casualization of workers in the state civil service. That trend was eradicated since 2015,” he said However, the state Chairman of the NLC, Mr. Leonard Nkah, who admitted the existence of casualization of workers at some point in the local government administration, noted that such development was possible as workers were being upgraded to fill vacancies. It was discovered that Michael Okpara University of Agriculture and National Root and Crops Research Institute, both in Umudike, used to engage casual workers to work in their farms, but were converted to full staff after some time based on their performance. Why casualisation thrives in Yobe Casualisation of workers in Yobe State Civil Service could be traced to lack of manpower in some of the professional jobs in the MDAs, according to a top senior civil servant.

With the shortage of manpower in some departments such as computer departments where experts are required and without provision for direct employment, MDAs in Yobe hire quality hands as casual workers for fill the gap. Casual workers can be found in the state Ministries of Finance and Education to facilitate the e-payment of staff salary. In the Ministry of Education, the casual workers are mostly non-indigenes. It was gathered that the number of casual workers in the state core civil service is about100. Sunday Vanguard, however, gathered that casualisation is not recognized in Yobe Civil Service as it is an internal arrangement by the MDAs; in fact, the state Civil Service Commission has no record of casual workers. The state Head of Service and the NLC Chairman declined comments. Ganduje regularises the appointment of 5, 000 casual workers In Kano State, casualisation of workers was an embedded practice until Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje came to power in 2015. The administration inherited no fewer than 5, 000 casuals spread across the state Senior Secondary School Management Board, the Health Management Board and Corporate Security. According to the state Head of Civil service, Auwalu Na’iya, the Senior Secondary School Management Board alone had 3,500 casual staff members, the health sector 841, and Corporate Security 1, 021. “With the express permission of Ganduje, the over 5, 000 casual workers have been converted and given permanent and pensionable appointments in the civil service”, he said. Rivers State owned media employ casuals Though Rivers State Head of Service, Mr. Godwin Rufus, denied the presence of casual workers in the state government’s workforce and those of any of its institutions or agencies, sources said casual workers are presently engaged by some MDAs.

A public servant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there were casual workers, both in the skilled and unskilled areas of the state public service, to boost the work force. A staff member of a state-owned institution told Sunday Vanguard that there were over 15 casual staff in Rivers State owned Tide Newspapers, seven in Radio Rivers and 20 in Rivers State Internally Generated Revenue Board, among others. Secretary of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, in Rivers State, Mohammed Bashman, corroborated the claim, saying: “We are aware of the issue of casualization, especially in the private sector, and has also entered into some government institutions. We don’t have enough laws regulating employment. There should be laws to guide employment. Section 7 of Labour Law is clear and even the casual worker is covered by the law. It states that it is wrong to keep a casual worker for more than six months without due employment.” Political appointees engage casual workers in Benue In Benue, there are no records of casual workers in the public service, but sources hinted that heads of MDAs do engage casual workers and pay them from their own pockets. Speaking on the issue, the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the state Governor, Mr. Terver Akase, stated that there were no records of casual staff drawing salaries from the coffers of the state government.

According to Akase, “I checked with the Head of Service and my discovery is that we do not have any casual worker in Benue State Civil Service. All you can find is a situation where individual appointees of government, on their own, engage personal staff to work for them. They pay such people from their pockets because that is their personal arrangement which has nothing to do with government. So, the long and short of it is that we do not have casual workers in Benue MDAs.” On his part, the state NLC Chairman, Godwin Anya, said labour in the state was not aware of casual workers.

Gov. plans to casualise workers in Kogi – Labour Though there is no form of direct casualisation of workers in Kogi State, Organised Labour in the state has accused Governor Yahaya Bello of making moves to begin it. The labour said the raging battle over the use of ‘clock – in – clock out system,’ and the emphasis by the governor in his New Year Day speech, gave fillip to its suspicion that Bello was out for casualization. Speaking on the issue, the state TUCN Chairman, Mr. Ranti Ojo, said the ‘clock- in- out system’ signified casualization as it is not in tandem with the spirit of minimum wage. Enugu regularises the appointment of 857 volunteer teachers Until Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi came to power, there were about 857 volunteer (casual) teachers in Enugu State. The Chairman of the state Post Primary School Management Board , PPSMB, Mr. Nextor Ezeme, who confirmed the development, said that with the regularisation, there were no more casual teachers in the state. Ezeme stated that the volunteer teachers’ scheme had been in practice since 2012 but that Ugwuanyi, in his magnanimity, chose to convert the beneficiaries in December 2017.

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