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“Scam” contributory pension, non-implementation of minimum wage: Labour knocks Soludo, to shut down Anambra

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Organised Labour, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union of Nigeria (TUC), have condemned Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State referring to the state’s contributory pension scheme “as a scam”.

Labour made the remarks in a seven-day strike notice issued to Governor Soludo in a letter dated May 15, 2024.

The notice was signed by chairmen and secretaries of the two labour centres in the state, Humphrey Nwafor and Gaius Chukwuka (NLC), and Chris Ogbonna and Alex Ebi (TUC).

The notice was based on Soludo’s failure to fully implement the minimum wage signed into law in 2019.

Five other pending issues were also raised in the ultimatum.

The other issues contained in the ultimatum besides full implementation of minimum wage are as follows:

  1. Contributory Pension Scheme,
  2. Ndiolu Microfinance Bank Issue,
  3. Constitution of Civil and Judiciary Service Commission,
  4. Wage award, and,
  5. Non-appointment of Commissioner for Labour matters or Creation of Ministry of labour and Productivity.

Labour lamented that workers’ salaries are being deducted without counterpart remittance from the government.

They also regretted that retired workers could not access the contributory pension which was part of their salaries deducted.

Labour recalled that a similar letter had been addressed to the governor on March 5, 2024.

They also stated that a communique was reached between March 5 and 13, 2024, on the same issues, all to no avail.

After reviewing the issues raised, Labour resolved that contributory pension, “whereby workers’ salaries are being deducted without counterpart remittance from the government and retired workers could not access part of salaries deducted” is a scam.

The ultimatum reads: “The deductions since 2018 were kept in government coffers without the constitution of the board to regulate the activities of Pension Fund Administrators, PFA’s.

“Organized Labour, therefore, demands immediate suspension of the deductions of contributory pension scheme from workers’ salaries and immediate refund of those monies deducted from workers’ salaries.”

Labour frowned at perceived inhuman and fraudulent activities going on in the Ndi-olu Microfinance Bank.

It demanded for immediate dissolution of the Ndi-olu microfinance Board and calls on the government to set up a panel to investigate the activities of the bank.

It condemned the monies deducted from workers’ salaries for recapitalization, non-remittance of shares accruing to workers in the state, etc.

Labour condemned non-constitution of civil service commission and Judicial Service commission, amongst others.

It said the act is tantamount to negligence and deliberate act by the government to destabilize the system and stagnate workers from being promoted and have access to other entitlements.

The organized labour thereby:

  • frowns at the non-appointment of permanent secretaries for two years as an act of insensitivity on the part of the government to the advancement of workers’ welfare and growth.
  • Is dissatisfied with the usage of three permanent secretaries in running the two MDAs despite the fact; that they are the accounting officers of various MDAs as stipulated in the Anambra State Finance Act 2020.
  • Feels disappointed over the sudden removal of the N12,000 wage award by Anambra State government even when hunger and hardship in the land persist.
  • Expects the government of Anambra to emulate her counterpart in the federation who are putting measures to cushion the effects of excruciating hunger, hardship, and deprivation in the country by providing palliatives and upward review of the removed wage award to her workers and sustaining the payment till the full implementation of new minimum wage commences.
  • Feels neglected over the non-appointment of Commissioner for Labour and Productivity or creation of this important ministry in the state to oversee the affairs of Labour matters and its activities, as this has been hindering the advancement and progress of Labour union’s activities in the state.
  • Expects the state Government to emulate its counterparts in the 36 states of the federation in creating this all-important ministry than treating organized labour with uttermost negligence.

Given the above issues raised, Labour, therefore, demanded the following:

  1. Immediate constitution of all boards to enable workers to have access to their rights and privileges.
  2. immediate appointment of permanent secretaries for smooth running and administration of civil service.
  3. That these issues be resolved within seven days from May 15.

If after the expiration the demands are not met, organized labour said it will not guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the state.

Diasporan Digital Media (DDM) reached out to Mr. Christian Aburime, the Chief Publicity Secretary to Governor Soludo, via WhatsApp for his reaction over the ultimatum.

He responded: “We will get back soon”. He has, however, yet to “get back” at the moment of this publication.

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