Labour/FG set to clash over unpaid allowances

By ANDREW OJIEZEL

Organised Labour under the aegis of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has concluded mobilization to shut down activities of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) at the Federal level unless the Government takes urgent steps to pay promotion arrears, outstanding salaries and other allowances owed Federal Public Servants in the next few weeks.

Giving this indication in Lagos yesterday, the ASCSN Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, regretted that more than one year after the promotion arrears were computed by a Presidential Committee and Report submitted to the Presidency, the Government had continued to dilly dally on the payment.

“The issue of unpaid entitlements of workers have 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,” the Union added.

Accordingly to the ASCSN, the 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 the Office of the Head of the Federation (OHCSF) in 2010, burial expenses, and repatriation allowances, etc.

“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.

“Moreover, the Federal Government had bailed out State Governments more than three (3) times in the past one year including the recent one courtesy of the loan refund from the Paris Club to be able to settle their workers’ entitlements.  The same Federal Government has decided to leave its own workers in the cold for no just reason.  This is strange,” the Union regretted.

The ASCSN demanded that the Federal Government should immediately commence the process of paying those debts with the sum provided for under the virement arrangement to the affected workers so as to convince all and sundry that the 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,” the Union regretted.

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