Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Mohammed Sani-Omolori, has faulted the proposed strike by parliamentary staff of the assembly over unpaid salaries and outstanding promotion, saying the workers did not follow due process over the matter.
Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) had at the weekend threatened to picket the National Assembly from December 4 over nonpayment of outstanding salaries, allowances and promotion, and threatened to embark on strike from December 14 if their requests were not met by then.
Sani-Omolori in a seven-page letter with reference number NASS/CNA/149/Vol.6/75 dated December 3 and addressed to PASAN over the two-week ultimatum given to the assembly management to address all welfare issues of the workers raised or face strike, expressed concern that PASAN did not exhaust all options before threatening to embark on strike.
According to him, “Your determination to embark on industrial action by all means without exhausting the options available to you is uncalled for. Picketing and strike should be the last resort instead of the first in industrial relations.”
He, therefore, requested the parliamentary workers to call off the proposed picketing and strike “and continue to engage management of the National Assembly on all issues raised in their letter of November 29 to the management.”
The Clerk added that management of the National Assembly was already addressing concerns raised by the association.
He expressed concern that despite efforts by the management to address issues raised by the union, it had planned to embark on strike.
On the issue of payment of 28 per cent increase in CONLESS as part of the request by the union, Sani- Omolori stated that a committee made up of management and PASAN had been set up to study, review and advise on the way forward.
He said although the payment was captured in 2018 budget, but the level of implementation in terms of release of funds has made it impossible to pay additional 28 per cent.
“This situation has been well discussed, and I am aware that PASAN officials have investigated and verified this fact from the Federal Ministry of Finance,” he said.
On the non-release of some promotion letters, upgrading, conversion and other establishment matters, the Clerk hinted that of the 589 letters of promotion, conversion and upgrading, 562 had been released to the respective beneficiaries.
“The 27 pending ones have issues of promotion into non-existent vacancies, conversion of staff to other cadres in breach of extant guidelines approved by National Assembly Service Commission (NASC). Also, there are wrong effective dates of promotion and/or conversion, suspicious career progression records and questions concerning consultancy cadre,” Sani-Omolori further explained.