Federal civil servants threaten strike over unpaid N200 billion salaries

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The Association of Senior Civil Servants, ASCSN, of Nigeria has resolved to proceed with an indefinite strike if the federal government does not address the non-payment of their N200 billion promotion, salaries and death remunerations.

The National Executive Council, NEC, of the association, made the resolution during its meeting in Abuja on Wednesday. They also agreed to picket the Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office, which the workers believe, are sabotaging the swift directives by President Muhammadu Buhari to release funds to pay several arrears owed them.

The verdict of the association’s executive council was disclosed to journalists by Ojemhenka Isaac, Association Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory chapter.

According to the Punch Newspaper, Mr. Isaac said the money approved by the National Assembly to pay their outstanding arrears was channelled to pay contractors handling unfamiliar projects.

The President of ASCSN, Bala Kaigama, who also serves as the President of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, told journalists after the meeting that the ASCSN, an affiliate Union of the TUC, would collaborate with the NLC to carry out the intended industrial action.

“Yes, the picketing would be done and I will lead it because this thing has taken so long. The idea of the payment of arrears of promotions, death benefits, first 28 days, started as soon as the President was sworn in.” he said.

Mr. Kaigama, stated that the picketing of the Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office would be followed by a strike, adding that the dates for actions would be worked out later.

He also stressed that the arrears owed the workers were not paid even when the president directed the Head of Service to work out the details with unions and to commence payment immediately.

He said when submissions on the issue were made to the federal government, it argued that there was no budgetary provision for the payment of the arrears.

“We wrote to Mr. President, he responded positively and then directed the office of the Head of Service to sit with us and work out the details. The details were worked out through the MDAs and our representatives at the MDA level and submissions were made to the Office of the Head of Service.

“That was done, then the National Assembly approved a virement but a chunk of the money was earmarked for the settlement of part of these arrears. But today, the explanation they are giving us is that the virement approved by the National Assembly has lapsed; that it is only capital projects that it (virement) can accommodate, it cannot accommodate overhead.

“In fact, except if the National Assembly intervenes now, there is a tendency that even this year’s budget may not capture these issues. And that is why we have decided that enough is enough. We are going to picket where we know the problems are.

“Mr President has directed; the delay we have now is between Finance and Budget. So, if we picket these offices, somebody must come out to tell us the truth so that the whole world will know where the problem is; and on this we stand,” he added.

He also said all necessary plans and arrangements have been concluded to involve NLC in the planned action.

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