Legislative Aides to senators and members of the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, protested against unpaid salary arrears, minimum wage implementation, duty tour allowance, and other entitlements.
Besides, the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) of both National Assembly (NASS) and National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) chapters vowed to embark on strike on Wednesday 14th April, if the Management failed to meet its demands.
The aides who stormed the lobby of the National Assembly carrying placards with various inscriptions, accused the Clerk to the National Assembly, Arc Olatunde Ojo of failure to pay their salary arrears, implement Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS), minimum wage, Duty Tour Allowances (DTA), lack of training and Conditions of Service.
The angry protesters on sighting the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, who was on his way to the Chamber, started chanting solidarity songs.
Gbajabiamila seeing the protesters, stopped and demanded to hear from their leaders.
Mr. Zebis Prince, who represents the South-South geopolitical zone of the group, told the Speaker that the aides want the CNA to meet their demands.
The demands were presented to him by the Chairman, National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF), Comrade Salisu Zuru.
Gbajabimila, receiving the letter of demand, said it is inexcusable not to pay workers’ arrears dating back to 2019.
He said, ”I believe that every labourer should be paid his wages. We are looking into it. While these things can be protracted, not paying wages of 2019 is inexcusable. We will look into it. I will just ask that you be patient. We plead for your understanding. We know there are financial constraints but one thing I know is this will be resolved amicably and your arrears will be paid. We appreciate you for bringing these demands to our attention and we will attend to it accordingly.”
Addressing journalists shortly after, the Chairman National Assembly legislative aides, Mr Stanley Ugwu said their grievances is that there are certain privileges and rights of the legislative aides which are being set upon by the management of the National Assembly.
He said, ”We engaged them on administrative processes up till a point of getting a resolution to investigate the non-payment of the 2019 salary arrears, which the House of Representatives set up a committee, they sat and conducted its activities and report was laid and adopted by the House. Since the report has been accepted at the plenary, the management has not deem it fit to make the payments. The quarterly training for the aides has not been done as well and if aides are not trained the quality of the legislation you will have here will be low.”
Meanwhile, parliamentary workers have vowed to embark on strike on Wednesday (14th April) if the Management of National Assembly fails to meet its demands.
This was disclosed in a joint communique issued at the end of the PASAN Congress held at Conference Room 28 of the House of Representatives in the New Wing of the National Assembly.
The Association, in the communique signed by Comrade Sunday Sabiyyi (Chairman, NASS chapter) and Comrade Oisamaye Ojemeri (Chairman, NASC chapter) asked the Management of National Assembly to implement the minimum wage/consequential adjustment and the financial provisions in their conditions of service.
The Association also rejected the proposal of the Management of National Assembly on the implementation of insignificant aspect of their demands.
Speaking at the plenary, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila appealed to them to exercise some patience, assuring that the issue will be resolved soon.
He said, ”I will like to appeal to the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) who are protesting to exercise some patience, their matter is being looked into and the issues will be resolved very soon.”