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Ogun workers threaten showdown with govt over unpaid deductions, pensions

Organised labour in Ogun State, on Tuesday, issued a seven-day ultimatum on the state government over non-remittance of deductions among others.

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The union, in a letter dated June 21, and addressed to Governor Dapo Abiodun, said workers in the state would be forced to embark on strike if the government failed to accede to their demands within the stipulated period.

The letter jointly signed by the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Emmanuel Bankole; Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Akeem Lasisi and the Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC), Isa Olude, asked Abiodun to address what it termed as “pathetic plight” of workers.

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The labour leaders argued that the welfare of workers in the state had been in limbo in the last three years of the administration.

They accused the state government of non-remittance of 21 months of salary deductions, eight years of unpaid Statutory Leave Allowances and breach of the State Pension Reform Law, 2006 (amended 2013) in the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme.

They hinted that the organised labour had earlier sent a letter dated June 7 to the governor on “the growing restiveness amongst employees of the State Civil/Public Service with a call for immediate dialogue with the State Government.”

While expressing worry that “there has not been neither official response nor acknowledgement to the letter as at date.”

Some of the demands include remittance of 21 months of salary deductions; implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme; payment of eight years of leave allowances; restoration of payment of Gross Salary and the implementation of Consequential Adjustment on Minimum Pension.

The letter reads this, “For clarity, these deductions are part of earned salary deducted from individual workers with the instructions that they be remitted to other recipients, e.g. cooperative societies, Bank loan repayment obligations, etc. but which the State Government failed in remitting as appropriate.

“The deliberate breach of the State Pension Reform Law, 2006 (amended 2013) in the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme.

“What obtains, in the last thirteen (13) years, is the one-sided practice of the Ogun State Pension Law [2006] amended in 2013 with unfailing monthly deduction of 7.5 per cent of Basic salary from all State employees whilst the counterpart payment of 7.5 per cent from the State Government, as the law stipulates, is nil.

“Eight (8) years of unpaid Statutory Leave Allowances. (The current administration owes nearly four (4) years of it).

“Restoration of payment of Gross Salary.

“It is evident that nearly all payment-related issues raised arise from the failure of the State Government to give approval to the payment of Gross Salary. Suffice to view the situation as the State Government’s deliberate policy of anti-workers welfare programme to entrench poverty and spread agonies.

“Non-implementation of Consequential Adjustment on Minimum Pension as mandated by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Disheartening enough, as at date, the minimum pension in the State remains as paltry as five thousand (#5000)!

2021 and 2022 promotion exercise must be accorded the priority it deserves. The State Government have taken the statutory exercise as though it is a favour.

“Various agreements and official pronouncements of the State Government have been largely pitted in the negative. The State Government has clearly taken the State Civil/Public Service as one inconvenience treated with negligent stance.”

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