NASU laments irregular payment of workers’ salaries
• Seeks stoppage of IPPIS implementation in education sector
The Non-academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has bemoaned the irregularity in the payment of workers’ salaries in the country.
In his New Year message to Nigerian workers, the General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, said the total absence of sanction on defaulters is pushing the menace to a new height where the government itself has become a major perpetrator.
Adeyemi cited numerous state governments that choose not to pay workers’ salaries or pay abysmal percentages with reckless abandon.
The NASU Scribe submitted that if there are sanctions for absenteeism from work, there should be sanctions for non-payment for work done.
Though he was quick to laud the Federal Government for prompt payment of salaries, Adeyemi lamented the fate of workers at the state and local government levels who are not paid as at when due.
His words: “It is commendable that the Federal Government has been able to pay salaries up to this moment even though some of the MDAS and some of the institutions are still struggling to pay even November salary but at least it is heart-warming our salaries are paid up till this point at the level of the federal.
“At the states, it is not something that you can say is good. We have some states that are currently battling to pay even in percentages, unfortunately. We have a state like Ondo, which we have been battling. They have a backlog of about five months. We have a state like Benue with a backlog of about five months not paid at all and also the refusal of some of the state governments to even pay the national minimum wage. This is negatively affecting the welfare and wellbeing of our members.”
Adeyemi argued that in other climes, salaries that are taken for granted have become a privilege in Nigeria.
“Salaries are supposed to be taken for granted for many sane climes. It is natural that when you are employed, you are expected to be paid. Unfortunately, salaries are no longer a very unfortunate right. It is supposed to be a right because when workers are absent from work, they are queried. They are questioned even when salaries are not being paid and when you move from that level of uncertainty, then you contend with whether the salary is what it is supposed to be,” he stated.
Adeyemi explained that with the dwindling value of the Naira and climbing inflation, salaries are losing real value.
Indeed, the value of the N18,000 between 2011 and 2018 is higher than between 2018 and 2021 when the new national minimum wage was jerked up to N30,000.
The NASU scribe explained further: “In terms of value, the salary is no longer what it is supposed to be because of the gross devaluation of our currency. When I participated in the tripartite body that negotiated the 30,000 minimum wage, as at that time, the economic situation and the value of the currency weren’t what it is today. The original demand was over 56,000 and even after it was signed into law and the President accented to it, the value of the currency has depreciated massively. The worth of the 30,000 national minimum wage has been eroded massively. Our Naira is exchanging for 585 in the black market.”
He argued that no government can successfully fight corruption if workers’ salaries are poor and not regular amid weak currency.
Adeyemi also expressed reservations about the implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), saying the platform has shown the opposite of transparency and efficiency it set out to be.
“If we decided to key into that process to ensure accountability and transparency and there is sanity in the system, it should be seen that even trade union leaders are patriotic citizens. IPPIS has become a total disaster, a massive disaster and at a point, it vindicated the position taken by ASUU from the beginning. We had had an avalanche of problems, which include some of our members not being paid at all and some of them were paid lower than what they are expected to be paid. Some of the things that have never happened to the payment of our members’ salaries started happening. Some strange deductions started taking place,” he lamented.