There are strong indications that the ongoing crisis trailing the delay in payment of salary increase of National Assembly workers, may stall the presentation of 2019 budget proposal by President Muhammadu Buhari as the workers threatened to embark on indefinite strike action.
Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held on Friday had given its nod to the President to transmit the 2019 budget proposal to the National Assembly.
Musa Bature, chairman, Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), National Assembly chapter, who issued the threat notice at a press briefing held in Abuja, disclosed that the institution will be shut down by 18th December 2018.
“We hereby reiterate that the proposed indefinite industrial action that will ground all legislative activities of the National Assembly will commence as earlier scheduled if our demands are not met as promised,” he said.
Nature explained that 3-day industrial action was suspended in response to the intervention of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers who gave assurances that the issues will be resolved.
He said the suspension of the picketing is “a mark of respect to President of the Senate, Rt. Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Principal Officers of the two chambers for their fatherly intervention and amiable leadership capacity display towards resulting the industrial relationship between the Legislators, Management and Staff Union.
“We hereby reiterate that the proposed indefinite industrial action that will ground all legislative activities of National Assembly will commence as earlier scheduled if the demands are not met as promised.”
Aside from the aforementioned demand, PASAN wants the following: Condition of Service for the staff of National Assembly Service, promotion, conversion, and staff upgrade, training, and consultancy.
Explaining further on the condition of service for the staff among other pressing demands, Nature hinted that: “the outgoing Board of the National Assembly Service Commission led by Dr. Adamu Fika OFR (Chairman) transmitted a review Condition of Service to the National
Assembly for their approval in line with the provision of the National Assembly Service Act, 2014, but the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) has delayed the consideration of the Condition of Service since July 2018.
“The staff of National Assembly overtime has never had any challenges with Promotion, conversion, and upgrading in their progression until recently when career progression of the staff became tied to no vacancy syndrome excuse. Also, there has been a delay in making appropriate appointments into offices such as the Deputy Clerk National Assembly (DCNA) Deputy Clerk House of Representative (Legislative and Admin), Secretaries of Directorates and Directors of Departments, etc.
“Unilaterally the management claims there are no vacancies for staff on Grade Level 7 and above in gross violation of the service rules as they arrogated to itself the power of the National Assembly Service Commission whose duty it is in line with the provision of National Assembly Service Act to Appoint, Promote and Discipline Staff of National Assembly.
“Staff training for legislative staff is pivotal and germane if our democracy must advance. The service rules for effective and efficient services leading to high productivity also point to note.
However, it is highly regrettable to note that only in the National Assembly that staff is deprived and denied of training. Some of our members have not attended any training for over 10 years and neither is there any policy or template in the National Assembly.
“It’s disappointing to inform you that in recent times, the top management who has retired from service whereas not allow proceeding on retirement leave and upon their retirement, they retained the same office spa and handle the schedule that should have been taken over by the next ranking officer.”
While reacting to the position of the House spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas who described the picketing of National Assembly as illegal, the PASAN chairman said the House spokesman is not in tune with the provisions of the extant Labour Act.