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ASCSN to picket ministry over unpaid allowance

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THE Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has threatened to mobilise its members to picket the ministry of defence over alleged non-payment of the allowances of civilian employees since 2011.

According to ASCSN, the proposed protest can only be averted if the management of the ministry take “urgent steps” to pay thousands of its civilian employees their allowances.

A statement signed by the association’s Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, said the union is surprised that an institution “which prides itself as an epitome of discipline, equity, and fairness could elect to oppress and dehumanize thousands of its civilian workers by denying them their entitlements”.

The Union stated that all efforts to bring the management of the ministry to the negotiation table to discuss the Labour issues causing restiveness in the Ministry had been frustrated. 

The union in the statement, gave the ministry of defence 14 day ultimatum with effect from Thursday March 12,  2015 within which to convey the meeting or face industrial action.

Lawal said: “It is necessary to emphasis that if within this period the meeting is not called, the National Leadership of the Union should not be held responsible if thousands of civilian employees in the ministry of defence decide to resort to self-help to resolve the impasse.”

The association explained that though the National Leadership of the union and the management of the ministry had agreed that there should be quarterly meetings to address the lingering Labour Issues and new ones that might emerge, “no meeting had been held since the agreement was reached on December 16th, 2014”.
 
According to the Union, the issues in dispute include but are not limited to non-payment of promotion arrears since 2011 to date, non-placement of staff after their promotion, short-payment/non-payment of salary arrears, non-payment of hanging salaries. 
 
Others are neglect of Lagos and other outstations in training programmes, non-payment of DTA to staff on duties outside their station, non-payment of death benefits and package/repatriation allowance, delay in conversion/upgrading of staff, among others.
 
The union recalled that the first quarterly meeting was fixed for February 5, 2015, but was subsequently rescheduled for February 10, 2015 on the excuse that the Permanent Secretary, who had elected to be part of the meeting, was out of the country.

The statement said: “On the 10th of February 2015 when the National Leadership of the unions arrived at Ship House, Abuja to attend the rescheduled meeting, no management team of the ministry of defence was available for the parley.  All efforts to get information on why the meeting could not hold proved abortive.

“The Deputy Director, Staff Welfare, however promised that he would liaise with the Permanent Secretary with a view to getting a new date for the first quarterly meeting.  Unfortunate, no meeting has been fixed up-till now,” the union added.
 
It explained that if the 14-day ultimatum expired without the management of the ministry convening a meeting to address the Labour Issues, “thousands of civilian workers in the Ministry would have no other alternative but to embark on strike action to drive home their demands”.



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