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COVID-19: Workers ‘II Resist Pay Cut, Non payment of 2018 Salary – Labour tells Fayemi



COVID-19: Workers ‘II Resist Pay Cut, Non payment of 2018 Salary – Labour tells Fayemi

…As Thailand grants unemployment benefits to migrant workers affected by COVID-19***

The organised labor in Ekiti State has appealed to Gov. Kayode Fayemi not to contemplate salary reduction of the state public servants, despite the slump in the revenues of the state government.

The union said that the lockdown by the All Progressives Congress APC government to combat the spread of COVID-19  pandemic had continued to take its effect on the people of the state.

It pleaded that the government should not consider slashing workers’ salaries.

The Nigeria Labour Congress is presently flexing muscles with the Kaduna State Government, another APC led government.

The unions: the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), also requested the immediate payment of outstanding salaries by Gov. Fayemi, to ease the effect of the ongoing lockdown on the workers.

It would be recalled that Gov. Fayemi had, on Tuesday,  announced the slashing of his salary; those of his Deputy, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi and other political appointees by 50 per cent.

The unions spoke at a press conference jointly addressed by the Chairmen of NLC, Mr Kolapo Olatunde and his counterpart from the TUC, Mr Sola Adigun in Ado Ekiti ahead of the annual  Workers’ Day normally marked on May 1.

The NLC boss, Mr Kolapo Olatunde,  in his address said that COVID-19 had been affecting every worker.

He said that this time was most appropriate for the state government to assuage the sufferings of the workers by promptly paying their salaries as well as the palliatives.

“We are still being owed three months’ salary arrears, outstanding leave bonuses, backlog of promotion arrears, while the minimum wage is yet to be implemented across board.

“As of today, the local government workers and primary school teachers are owed six months’ salary arrears while secondary school teachers and civil servants are owed three months respectively.

“We have waited for over one year and we have done our best and make the right sacrifices.

“The national president of the NLC gave me a matching order to tell our governor that the salaries of our workers can’t take them home and there shouldn’t be any reason for government to think of pay cut in Ekiti”.

Also read:  Ekiti prepares for recession, orders 50% salary cut for Fayemi, deputy, political appointees

Olatunde appreciated the government and health workers in Ekiti for working hard to reduce the number of victims of COVID-19 to eight.

“The reduction in the number was because the government woke up early to take precautionary measures”.

The TUC Chairman, Mr Sola Adigun, said what workers were collecting in Nigeria was never a living wage, expressing optimism that they would breathe a sigh of relief someday.

“We thank the governor and members of his cabinet for sacrificing part of their living wage to fight the menace of COVID-19. Workers are not collecting a living wage, so we are not expecting any reduction in our salaries”.

Adigun advised the government to deploy more energy toward promoting the welfare of the people and devise ways to defeat COVID-19 pandemic, Boko Haram insurgents, kidnapping, corruption and all manners of criminalities.

The TUC boss advised the Ekiti government to encourage farming among civil servants, in the spirit of diversification, to halt sole dependence on Federal allocations.

In another development, Thailand’s Ministry of Labour on Thursday announced that migrant workers affected by the impact of COVID-19 outbreak can now claim unemployment benefits from the Social Security Office (SSO).

“If their employers shut their businesses temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the migrant workers will receive 62 per cent of their daily wage for up to 90 days,” said Pitsamai Nithipaiboon, SSO’s inspector-general.

According to the Ministry of Labour, there are currently 2.7 million migrant workers in Thailand.

Recently, the Thai Immigration Bureau had detained 115 illegal migrant workers from several countries and 42 of them had tested positive for COVID-19.

In a bid to prevent the spread of the virus, the Labour Ministry had ordered all provinces to launch public relations campaign among migrant workers and to educate employers and workers about health guidelines.

In Thailand’s Central Province of Ayutthaya, pamphlets published in four languages were distributed to migrant workers, informing them of the gravity and consequences of COVID-19 infections.

The pamphlets also provided advice on how to practice safe hygiene and keep social distancing.

Across the country, face masks and hand sanitisers were distributed to laborers and random tests for COVID-19 were conducted on workers at many construction sites.


Foreign News

29 Killed In Southern Brazil’s Worst Storms



29 Killed In Southern Brazil’s Worst Storms

Four consecutive days of intense rainfall, floods, and mudslides that hit Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sulworst released the worst storms that killed 29 people and left 60 others missing, Governor Eduardo Leite said.

“Unfortunately, we know that these numbers will rise,” said Leite, describing the storms as the worst natural disaster in the state’s history, a top agricultural and livestock producer.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited Santa Maria, one of the state’s worst-hit cities, and met with Leite on Thursday.

Lula offered federal funding and aid to address the emergency in the state bordering Uruguay and Argentina.

“There will be no shortage of help from the federal government to take care of health, no shortage of money to take care of transportation and food, everything that is within reach.

“Whether through ministers, civil society, or our military, we’ll dedicate round-the-clock effort to satisfy the basic needs of the people stranded by the rains,” said the president.

With more rain forecast, the governor called on residents, to head for higher ground and stay away from flood-prone areas identified by the civil defence agency.

He said 4,400 residents have been evacuated but thousands more are waiting to be rescued from their flooded homes.

According to a civil defence bulletin, 154 cities have been affected by natural disasters.

– Xinhua

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Foreign News

Israel Says Not Briefed In Time About Hamas Accepting Gaza Ceasefire Proposal – Reports



Israel Says Not Briefed In Time About Hamas Accepting Gaza Ceasefire Proposal – Reports

The Israeli government was taken aback that Hamas accepted the latest Gaza ceasefire proposal, formed by Qatari and Egyptian mediators, as the country was only briefed on the Palestinian movement’s response an hour after its release.

The Axios news outlet reported this on Tuesday, citing three Israeli officials.

On Monday, Hamas informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it agreed to the terms of the ceasefire deal they had drafted.

The proposal provides for three stages of 42 days, during which a complete ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners are expected to be concluded.

In addition to allegedly being briefed on Hamas’ decision belatedly, the Israeli officials told Axios they had been outraged by the fact that the proposal accepted by the Palestinian movement allegedly contained “many new elements,” which had not been discussed with the Jewish state.

“It looked like a whole new proposal,” one of the Israeli officials was quoted by the news outlet as saying.

That “new” proposal, which allegedly was not negotiated with Israel, had been presented by the mediators to Hamas’ delegation during the latter’s visit to Cairo last weekend, the Israeli officials told Axios.

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the negotiations said Israeli representatives had also been invited by the United States to visit Cairo along with Hamas but had refused to do so.

The Israeli authorities have been seriously disappointed with Washington’s mediating role in the talks with Hamas, Axios reported.

CIA Director Bill Burns participated in the recent round of the negotiations in Cairo and Doha and was aware of that “new” proposal, but allegedly did not inform Israel about it, sources familiar with the matter were cited by the news outlet as saying.

Meanwhile, a senior US official told Axios that “American diplomats have been engaged with Israeli counterparts,” adding there were “no surprises.”

On Monday, the Israel Defense Forces started a military operation in the eastern parts of Rafah, after urging residents to evacuate.

Palestinian movement Hamas said that it had agreed to the provisions of the Gaza ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal unacceptable.

More than a million people are believed to be sheltering in the city.

On Oct. 7, 2023, the Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel and breached the border, attacking both civilian neighbourhoods and military bases.

Nearly 1,200 people in Israel were killed and some 240 others abducted during the attack.

Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages.

Over 34,700 people have been killed so far by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, according to local authorities.

More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza. 

– Sputnik

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Foreign News

East Africa Floods Affecting 750,000 People, Kill 235 – UN



East Africa Floods Affecting 750,000 People, Kill 235 – UN

UN humanitarians said about 750,000 people were affected by flooding in eastern Africa, with 234,000 displaced and more than 236 killed.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said local authorities in Kenya reported more than 285,000 people were affected nationwide.

“The United Nations and our partners are supporting the government-led response and have reached more than 126,000 people with water and sanitation assistance.

“About 31,000 people were assisted with food and cash, more than 5,000 assisted with health services, and nearly 26,000 people with emergency shelter support,” OCHA said.

The office said that in Somalia, more than 160,000 people were affected by flooding, with more than 37,000 displaced or relocated.

Flooding has killed seven children since April 19, with the states of Hirshabelle, Jubaland and Southwest the worst affected.

Humanitarian agencies said local authorities provided more than 70,000 people with food, cash, water, sanitation, shelter and health assistance.

Some 50 boats were deployed to deliver supplies or evacuate people who may have been marooned by flood waters.

“Our partners estimate that the rains and floods could affect at least 770,000 people in Somalia,” OCHA said.

“The rains are also likely to worsen the ongoing cholera epidemic in the country.”

The humanitarians said that in Burundi, torrential rains and the rising water level of Lake Tanganyika have affected nearly 180,000 people since January.

The agriculture sector is heavily impacted, with national authorities estimating that 40,000 hectares or 10 per cent of the country’s crop area have been affected.

“A flood response plan seeking 25 million U.S. dollars is being finalised to support more than 300,000 people,” OCHA said.

“Our partners are providing health care support, drinking water, tarpaulins and psychosocial support.”

According to humanitarians, in Tanzania, the government and partners deployed search and rescue teams and distributed emergency aid, including food, mattresses, mosquito nets and tents to assist flood-affected people.

The office said that in Rwanda, heavy rains and floods killed and injured dozens of people and damaged roads, bridges and hundreds of homes.

Local authorities reported that several hectares of rice and banana plantations were also damaged.

“The governments and humanitarian partners are supporting evacuation efforts and the response,” OCHA said.  

– Xinhua

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