By Martins Ifijeh

To address the demands of workers, the Governing Council of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has approved new and enhanced conditions of service for staff.

Also, the agency has secured approval from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for Group Life Insurance for its workers in view of the increasing emergency needs.

The management has however agreed to initiate process to commence the 2018 promotion exercise in the agency.

These highlights of the agency’s responses to the demands of workers were contained in a statement by the Head of the Press Unit of NEMA, Sani Datti against the backdrop of an industrial action which started since June 11.

Before the Sallah break, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) had intervened in the crisis.

The management said it has been implementing all the agreements reached with the workers since September 2017.

The statement said: “In further consideration of our resolve and commitment for a better welfare to the staff, the management initiated the process of the most needed improved conditions of service for the staff.

“The report/proposal by the committee has been forwarded to NEMA Governing Council, which has sat and passed a resolution for the constitution of an establishment committee headed by the OSGF with a mandate to review the proposal and advice the council. Having sat three times, the committee is currently writing its report for onward submission and consideration by the governing council.

“The NEMA management sat with the official of the local Unit of the ASCSN in at least two occasions, and the last was an address, made at the instance of the ASCSN official of NEMA, by the management to a large number of the headquarters staff.

“In addition to this, the national body of the ASCSN has been fully informed of the progress, most recently in a letter written on  June 6, 2018.

“The commitment of government was invigorated by the OSGF, where a meeting was convened between the NEMA management and the Association’s officials of the local Unit and all addressed of the government efforts to providing better condition of service for NEMA staff.

“At the end of the meeting, a resolution was reached that the vehicular barricade should be removed and another meeting rescheduled to Tuesday,  June 19, 2018.”

On renewal of Group Life Insurance for worker, the statement said the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) had given approval to NEMA to go ahead.

The management also said the promotion exercise for staff will soon commence.

It added: “After going through rigorous due process (Seeking of “No objection” from BPP, Advert, prequalification, technical and financial tendering, Evaluation and Approval) the GLP has been approved.

“The Department of Human Resources Management has concluded preparations, briefs and other related cases, such as conversion, upgrading, confirmation, etc. To this end the DG has been intimated on the criteria and process of the exercise. Approval of cost implication of the needed accreditation of eligible officers has been given and will commence in earnest. This will follow immediately with the fixing of the examination date.

“The management is pleased to state that all outstanding overtime allowance (since 2015), which predated the appointment of the present DG, had been settled since last year. As for the payment of DTAs and other claims, which have accrued (since 2015), it is being released in batches, and considerable progress has been made on them.

“The management has responded to all request of redeployment by married women of the agency.

“The two officials of the local branch of Local Branch of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN) have been redeployed back to the headquarters immediately after the signing of the agreement last year.

“Further to this, the newly elected unit treasurer who was in Lagos has also been redeployed to the headquarters.

NEMA faulted the industrial action by its workers and insisted that it violated the nation’s labour law on emergency service.

It said: “Further to all the above, its worthy to note that all the relevant clauses of the labour laws on industrial action have not been adhered to and  violated by the local unit of the ASCSN.

“The law of Nigeria is clear and specific on the role of NEMA being an emergency service provided as “Essential.” The NEMA Unit officials of the ASCSN do not seem to recognise that.

“It is imperative to note that, and in consideration of the above mentioned facts, all the areas of disagreement/agreement have been addressed and therefore the management does not see the connection of the last industrial action to the present one called upon by the officials of the local association of NEMA.

“The government, however, recognises and respects the constitutional provision for the freedom of association of the citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and enjoys the local unit of the NEMA ASCSN to equally respect the sanctity of the law of the Federal Republic on Nigeria.

“The management of the NEMA and the staff at its headquarters were surprised to discover, on arrival to work, that the gate was shut down and barricaded with ambulance and fire fighting vehicles of the agency on Monday, June 11, 2018.

“It was there and then people got to understand it was the action of the local branch of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN). There was no any prior notice given to either the management or the staff.

“The reasons for the ASCSN action were later discovered to have arisen from issues related to operation of vehicles and the agency’s Aircrafts and some that have already been addressed during the industrial action embarked by the association in September last year.

“Agreement reached between the management of NEMA with the ASCSN, witnessed by Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoL&E), was endorsed by all parties.  Needless to mention, but for public appreciation and transparency, we provide herewith brief on the progress achieved.