Too early for Industrial Action: NASS, uphold integrity

0

Hearing of threats of strike actions may seem to be too early to begin another annual calendar. However, in as much as such would appear absurd, it has become a phenomenon that threats of industrial action in the Country may know no time bound as expression of displeasures from aggrieved parties have become a feature of the running fabrics of the Nigerian polity.

Workers attached to the National Assembly under the aegis of the Parliament Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) on Thursday announced their intention to embark on an industrial strike over payment default of eight months national minimum wage and 15 months CONPECULIAR allowances.

In a demonstration to protest the breach on Thursday, the workers led by the Chairman of PASAN National Assembly chapter, Sunday Sabiyi and the Vice Chairman of National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), M. A Liman said the strike will commence on Monday, 10th January, 2022.

The aggrieved body mentioned it has also sent the communiqué dated 6th January, 2022 issued after the joint emergency congress of NASS/NASC to the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabimila; Chairman, National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), Engr. Ahmed Mashi; Director of Department of State Service (DSS); Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at the National Assembly and Head of Sergeant-at-Arms.

The two-page communiqué, accused the National Assembly management of “breach of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered with PASAN on the 13th of April, 2021 on the full implementation of the new national minimum wage Act 2019 and the Revised condition of service, Congress hereby observes the following: Breach of MOU by the decision of the management not to honour it as at 31st December 2021, being the fourth quarter of 2021. In view of the resolutions, Congress resolves to embark on industrial action, commencing with mass picketing from Monday, 10th January, 2022 in protest of the breach of the MOU. In view of the contraventions above, the NASC/ NASS joint emergency congress resolves as follows.

“That management should pay with immediate effect 5 months outstanding balance of minimum wage, year 2021 rent subsidy, 15 months arrears of CONPECULIAR allowances, 6 months arrears of hazard allowance to National Assembly staff. In addition to the MOU, Congress also demands the implementation of 50 per cent balance of CONLESS, immediate release of year 2022 training template for staff and evidence of provision of gratuity for retiring staff.

“Whereas management had earlier identified the supplementary budget 2021 as one amongst various sources of funding the MOU, congress is amazed that suddenly the Supplementary budget and virement of the 2021 fiscal appropriation have become the source of funding items not captured in the MOU including end of year bonus and promotion arrears.”

Industrial actions have grown in Nigeria to become a seated phenomenon in the character of political and labour relation within the Country. The struggles by labour unions have over time lasted with reoccurring subjects which have been left unaddressed. As the wings of the phenomenon are broadly divergent and extensively rooted, the narratives become more troublesome with the centrality of key sectors from where these strike actions exhume from time to time. The thought of the critical necessity of the sectors where industrial actions have become a norm, speaks ill against the desideratum of stability of operations which is highly demanded for sustainable development.

The grounds often sparking these incessant courses of industrial actions have largely layed on the failure of government to, in most instances, fulfill promises made with regard to the demands of the aggrieved parties who under unionist canopy convey their actions in contest against matters largely borne by unfavourable working conditions.

The drumbeats of industrial actions in the Country have become an albatross, the reflective impacts of which pose strains of instabilities hostile to consistent framework for measurable development. It is saddening that vital institutions have been left to suffer such inconsistencies by acts of insolence which appear counterproductive to socio-economic development.

It is inarguable that the reality of the quest of development can only take course under consistency of coordinated efforts directed strategically with little or no waves of instabilities. Such is largely needed for the entrenchment of a democratic system demanding a climate of consistency of working structures for socio-economic and political development.  The prevailing situation of incessant strikes and drumbeats of industrial actions are inconsistent with the desideratum of appreciable development. Having such reflex from the corridor of the National Assembly for breach of agreements speaks despicable posture with misrepresentation of an institution which is the law making estate of the Federation expected to uphold high value of esteemed integrity. The facts before hand misrepresents the National Assembly, it is expected that the parliament redress its managerial conducts.