PASAN protests ‘breach of agreement’ with National Assembly management
Payment won’t commence without minister’s approval, says Clerk
Placard-carrying members of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the National Assembly over what they described as breach of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Assembly management.
The April 13, 2021 agreement, according to the association, was supposed to have resulted in full implementation of the new National Minimum Wage Act 2019 and the Revised Conditions of Service.
In a reaction, however, National Assembly Clerk, speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Labour, Adesoro Austin, said the MoU the management had with the staff indicated the wage would commence from January 2020, and not April 2019, as anticipated by the staff.
He said the Presidential Steering Committee on Wages, chaired by the Minister of Finance, is yet to approve the wage. He said: “Management said the payment would start from January 2020, which is what was stated in the letter from the Salaries and Wages Commission. Management said it will not pay until the board approves the money.
“That is the issue. But the staff want management to pay. When auditors come, they will receive a query for illegal payment, since there is a promise from the Salary and Wages Commission to look into it.”
But armed with resolutions of the Joint Congress of PASAN (National Assembly and National Assembly Commission, NASC) chapters, held on January 6, 2022, signed by Comrade Sunday Sabiyi, Chairman (National Assembly) and Comrade A. Liman, Vice Chairman (NASC), the workers levelled the following accusations:
“Breach of MoU by decision of management not to honour agreement as at December 31, 2021, being end of Fourth Quarter 2021; management violated the new National Minimum Wage Act, 2019, shortchanging staff by eight months; non-payment of rent subsidy; non-payment of 15 months arrears of Consolidated Peculiar (Conpeculiar) Allowance, including correction of miscalculated payments of the allowance; and non-payment of six months arrears of Hazard Allowance for National Assembly Staff, among others.
The letter conveying the resolutions was addressed to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Amos Ojo Olatunde, on January 6, 2022 and copied to the Senate President; Speaker, House of Representatives; and Executive Chairman, NASC, among others.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a member of PASAN said National Assembly management failed to pay the workers within the fourth quarter of last year until January this year.
He said the payment was “haphazard” and fulfilled only two out of the numerous demands captured in the MoU. “They implemented minimum wage for 16 out of 24 months and promotion arrears, which was not part of the MoU,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Clerk and PASAN officials are said to be discussing a way out of the crisis.