25th September 2022
PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TEAM OF ORGANIZED LABOUR, NIGER STATE COUNCIL
The media and public affairs team of the Organized Labour in Niger State notes with concern, a coordinated stereotype being orchestrated by some aggrieved pensioners under the auspices of RETIREES PRESSURE GROUP. In their outings, the RETIREES PRESSURE GROUP asserted that the Organized Labour and the Nigerian Union of Pensioners are compromised, as the unions are not protecting their interests. In another instance, the group called on Niger State Government to repeal the contributory pension scheme law, among other flagrant assertions.
We are therefore compelled by prevailing circumstances to issue this statement to set the records straight and properly inform the general public.
The Organized Labour in Niger State shares in the agony of our retirees. We are perturbed and understand the supercilious inclination this avoidable quagmire in pension administration has subjected our retirees after meritoriously serving Niger State. Pension is a right, and it must be preserved and respected, which we understand and are pursuing vigorously.
Contrary to misleading insinuations, the Organized Labour wrote series of correspondences, organized rallies/protests and embarked on industrial strike action with pension and other civil servants-related matters as cardinal reasons. Organized Labour has been consistent in pressing the right bottoms towards alleviating the suffering of pensioners.
For emphasis, in continuation of the struggle for pensioners' rights, series of letters have been written since the assumption of Comrade Idris Lafene as the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress. Official communication in that regard vide a letter reference OL/NS/040/GEN/Vol. 4/01 dated September 9, 2022, and addressed to the Governor of Niger State demanded the following;
1. Government should immediately release the sum of One Billion Naira (#1,000,000,000) for the payment of gratuities to retirees of State and LGAs.
2. Forthwith, in line with the agreement of Thursday; 10th March 2022, the government should remit the sum of Three Hundred Million Naira (#300,000,000) monthly for the payment of gratuities to retirees of State and LGAs. Government should review the amount upward to Five Hundred Million Naira (#500,000,000) to capture more beneficiaries.
3. To provide succour to the plight and suffering of retirees on the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), the government should meet its obligation by remitting its counterpart funding and accrued rights as contained in the agreement of Saturday; 8th February 2020.
4. Arising from the implementation of Thirty Thousand Naira (#30,000) national minimum wage in Niger State, the government should immediately implement Minimum Pension for retirees of State and LGAs.
5. Government should abolish the practice of paying gratuities by categorization of beneficiaries on Grade Levels and percentage payment of LGA beneficiaries.
6. Government should improve on the time lag that usually characterizes the payment of monthly pensions to retirees of LGAs.
As an addendum, the referenced correspondence concluded thus; WE WISH TO REITERATE OUR POSITION THAT IN ADDITION TO ADDRESSING GREY AREAS, RESUMPTION OF 7.5% CONTRIBUTORY PENSION SCHEME (CPS) IN NIGER STATE IS SUBJECT TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AGREEMENTS ENTERED WITH THE ORGANIZED LABOUR ON SATURDAY; 8th FEBRUARY 2020 AND THURSDAY; 10th MARCH 2022.
As highlighted above, a subsisting agreement between Niger State Government and the Organized Labour dating back to 8th February 2020 on pension-related matters has not been honoured to the latter. It, therefore, amounts to cheap blackmail for RETIREES PRESSURE GROUP to aver that the Organized Labour is doing nothing about the plight of pensioners.
On issues related to Contributory Pension Scheme, the Organized Labour is mindful of subsisting backlashes arising from poor management of pension funds, hence, our resolve to ensure that all grey areas are adequately addressed before the resumption of the scheme.
Instances where civil servants' salaries are deducted in the name of pension but only partly remitted to pension board and pension funds administrators will spell doom on the future of civil servants. As custodians of the rights and privileges of civil servants, the Organized Labour will not be indifferent to this anomaly.
While we understand that our senior citizens have an inalienable right to protest and demand equity and justice, we urge that same should be done within the ambit of the law without denigrating anyone or the organized labour.
For the umpteenth time, the Organized Labour is unrelenting at ensuring that the rights and privileges of civil servants and retirees in Niger State are protected at all times.
Organized Labour, Niger State.