Federal Workers Threaten Strike Over Unpaid Arrears, Salaries, Others

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Oluwatosin Lamidi


Organised labour under the aegis of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) is planning to shut down activities of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) at the federal level over what they termed nonpayment of promotion arrears, outstanding salaries and other allowances.

The Secretary General of ASCSN, Alade Lawal, who gave the indication in Lagos on Tuesday, said for more than one year after the promotion arrears were computed by a Presidential Committee and report submitted to the presidency, the government had failed to effect payment.

“The issue of unpaid entitlements of workers has remained unattended to for some years now and was indeed brought to the attention of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buahri, sometimes ago for necessary action.

“Thereafter, a circular was issued by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation directing all MDAs to compile the total sum involved in respect of the unpaid entitlements of their employees for settlements,”  Lawal said.

Accordingly to him, debts owed some categories of federal public officers include promotion arrears outstanding in some cases since 2007; 1st 28 days in lieu of hotel accommodation; and Duty Tour Allowance (DTA).

Others are mandatory training allowance for training organised by Office of Head of  Federation (OHCSF) in 2010, burial expenses, and repatriation allowances, among others.

“The import of this statement is to alert the general public that the nation may be witnessing series of industrial actions in the Public Service if no concrete steps are taken to commence the payment of these indebtedness as the general feeling amongst workers is that Government is not prepared at all to pay what it is owing them and that its only interest is to pay what it owes contractors,” the secretary general said.

He said federal government had bailed out state governments more than three ( times in the past one year, including recent loan refund from the Paris Club to be able to settle their workers’ entitlements, adding that the same federal government has decided to leave its own workers in the cold for no just reason.

The association task federal government on immediate processing of payment to the affected workers so as to convince all and sundry that government meant well for its employees.

It added that the balance of the indebtedness should be captured in the 2017 budget estimate so that payment could be made in the course of the year without necessarily going through the virement process again.

“As we speak, no provision has been made for this all important unpaid entitlements of workers in the 2017 budget estimate,” Lawal said.

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