Federal workers threaten to shut down government operations over unpaid N1.165bn allowances

Federal workers threaten to shut down government operations over unpaid N1.165bn allowances

Federal workers under the aegis of Association of Senior Servants of Nigeria (ASSN) have threatened to shut down operations across all federal institutions over unpaid N1.165 billion promotion arrears.Federal workers under the aegis of Association of Senior Servants of Nigeria (ASSN) have threatened to shut down operations across all federal institutions over unpaid N1.165 billion promotion arrears.

But in a swift reaction to ensure industrial harmony within the public service, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment held an emergency conciliatory meeting with the leadership of the Association with the view to pacify the workers to shelve the action.

Samuel Olowookere, Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in a statement issued on Tuesday night, disclosed that the Association “agreed to temporarily put off the strike notice until Wednesday, 20th September, 2017 to enable the Federal Government to show good faith by commencing the payment of promotion arrears owed to civil servants.

“In a meeting brokered as the nation’s chief conciliator, Ngige said the Federal Government would do all that was necessary to meet up with the demands of the civil servants and the timeline in the agreement.

“Among others, the meeting agreed that thirty Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation reported having cleared their allowances, amounting to N1.165 billion should start to receive credit of payment to their account by Wednesday, 20th September 2017.”

According to Olowookere, the parties also “agreed the office of the Accountant General of the Federation should also provide the list of the 30 MDAs in reference to the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment by Wednesday, 13th September, 2017.

“The conciliation meeting further set up a seven-man committee to be chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of  Labour, with three members each drawn from the government negotiating team and the Labour Association respectively to oversee the implementation of the decisions.

“The Minister had earlier while addressing the union restated the unflinching commitment of the Buhari administration to the welfare of workers.

“The arrears in question accumulated for up to a decade but the President very much concerned about the welfare of the citizens resolved to settle the backlog, knowing that government is also a continuum. This is a government that has the interest of workers at heart, the very reason we stoically refused to retrench any civil servant despite dwindling resources we met and worsened by the recession.

“He (Ngige) further thanked the civil servants for their patience and resilience which in no small measure contributed to the nation’s exit from recession.

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