National Assembly workers under the aegis of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) staged a peaceful protest over unpaid salaries and accumulated allowances due to them at the lobby of NASS yesterday.
However, they were dispersed by policemen at the complex who whisked away some arrowheads of the protest for security breach.
PASAN members had ealier threatened to ground legislative activities at NASS over the delay in the payment of their October salaries. The threat notices were issued via a letter with reference No: PASAN/NASS-CHP/CC/003 dated November 4, 2014 and signed by PASAN caretaker committee vice chairman, Stella Nwene and another ‘Internal Notice’ to all staff signed by publicity secretary, Godwin Kyepso.
LEADERSHIP gathered that hundreds of the legislative aides who served under the sixth National Assembly had already filed a suit before an Abuja High Court over the non-payment of their severance allowances while challenging what they called “untoward treatment” meted against them by NASS management.
Meanwhile, the current serving PASAN members were said to have in 2012 staged a peaceful protest over the non-implementation of the 25 per cent increment on their salaries every two years as stipulated in the Consolidated Legislative Salary Scale (CONLESS) which took effect from 2010.
The November 4 PASAN letter reads “I am directed to refer to the Notice to all staff by Comrade Bawa Mohammed led dissolved Executive Council, over the refusal of the management to pay October 2014
salary, with the claim the problem is associated with non-release of fund from the Federation Account.”
“We condemn the publication in its entirety and hereby call on members to disregard it for the following reasons: That the reason given by the dissolved Executive Council is fake, incorrect and misleading because funds have been released to the three arms of government from the federation account as can be verified from the Budget Office of the Federation.
“That the dissolved Executive Council cannot constitute themselves as the spoke-persons of the management against the objectives of the union as stipulated in Rule 5(a) of PASAN Constitution.
“That their action is a violation of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria order that the Executive Council remain dissolved pending the determination of the suit No: NICN/ABJ/246/2014 instituted by the dissolved Executive Council seeking to restrain the Caretaker Committee from running the affairs of the chapter in line with PASAN constitution 2011, which the Court refused to grant.
“On the contrary, we are all aware that the management have decided to withhold our salary for the month of October for no justifiable reason.
“We therefore wish to humbly give the management 72 hour ultimatum beginning from today, Tuesday, 4th November 2014 to pay the salaries.
Failure to pay, all members are hereby directed to converge at the lobby of the White House on Tuesday, 11th November 2014 to demand for the payment of their salaries.”
The police at NASS, however, said they moved in to save the situation because the protesters breached security by staging a protest without permission even as there was internal squabbles in their organisation a subject of which is pending before a law court.