The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, may have successfully foiled the planned strike by the Association of Senior Servants of Nigeria.
This I because the association has agreed with the minister to temporarily put off its strike notice until September 20, 2017 following a firm promise that the government would meet their demands before the end of the month.
Ngige in a statement released on Tuesday night by the Deputy Director (Press), Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Samuel Olowookere, said this is to enable the federal government to show good faith by commencing the payment of promotion arrears owed to civil servants.
The minister at a meeting brokered as the nation’s chief conciliator, said the federal government would do all that was necessary to meet up with the demands of the civil servants and the timeline in the agreement.
He said: “Among others, the meeting agreed that 30 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation reported having cleared their allowances, amounting to N1.165 billion should start to receive credit of payment to their account by September 20, 2017.
“It also agreed the office of the Accountant General of the Federation should also provide the list of the 30 MDAs in reference to the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment by September 13, 2017.”
Ngige said the conciliation meeting further set up a seven-man committee to be chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Labour, with three members each drawn from the government negotiating team and the labour association respectively to oversee the implementation of the decisions.
The minister had earlier while addressing the union restated the unflinching commitment of the Buhari administration to the welfare of workers.
“The arrears in question accumulated for up to a decade but the president very much concerned about the welfare of the citizens resolved to settle the backlog, knowing that government is also a continuum. This is a government that has the interest of workers at heart, the very reason we stoically refused to retrench any civil servant despite dwindling resources we met and worsened by the recession,” he said.
He further commended the civil servants for their patience and resilience which in no small measure, contributed to the nation’s exit from recession.