National Assembly workers shut down legislature over unpaid salaries

National Assembly workers shut down the premises of the federal legislature on Tuesday over unpaid wages and lack of due promotion.

Some of the workers claimed they were owed wages from as far back as 2010.

They also alleged that funds meant for training had been diverted.

The protest lasted between 8.am to about 2:30.pm.

The workers, under the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), National Assembly chapter, carried placards with various inscriptions, such as ‘Pay us our ten years entitlements,’ ‘We demand for our rights,’ ‘Give us our promotions,’ ‘Enough is Enough, ‘Executive, avoid selective implementation of 2018 budget,” among others.

When the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, arrived at the Assembly, he was prevented from going into the Senate chamber with the workers chanting “no sitting”.

The angry workers also prevented him from addressing them.

The protesting workers also booed Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara as well as other principal officers of both chambers who had come to address them at about 1:40.pm

‎Soon after Saraki began his address through a public address system, the workers started booing him and other members of his entourage.

But despite the booing and interruptions, Saraki managed to make a commitment to the workers that they were on the same page on the issues raised and that a lasting solution would be arrived at soon.

‎Following their congress last Thursday, the parliamentary workers came up with a communiqué, in which they enumerated their grievances and stated their conditions.

They said in line with the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) Act, the commission had in 2010‎ instituted the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS) for its staff, which provided for 100 percent increment on the then existing salary. They said only 22 percent was approved in the first instance with a proviso that the balance increment would be effected after every two years but in vain.

They also said both Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, in line with their statutory mandate, should take urgent steps to nominate members of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC).

They said all pending staff promotions and conversion letters should be released with arrears due fully paid, while the 2018 promotion eligibility list should be released and promotion exams conducted on or before December 31 this year.

In its‎ reaction, the management through Sani-Omolori said the poor releases of the 2018 budget made it impossible for them to meet up with the payment of the agreed 28 percent increment.

He said it was unrealistic and not feasible to pay without funding from the federation account.

On the issue of promotion, he said out of the ‎589 letters he received from the commission for promotion, upgrading and conversion, a total of 562 were released to the beneficiaries between August 28 and November 27, while the remaining 27 had pending issues.

Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe), in a joint press conference with his House counterpart, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), said the National Assembly has resolved to implement the 28 per cent salary hike being demanded by protesting parliamentary workers.

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