Ogun state workers under the umbrella of organised labour has said that except the state government suspend the newly repealed Pension Reform law 2020 as passed last week by the state assembly, the workers would have no choice than to commence strike within the next seven days.
At a press briefing held at the Secretariat of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Ogun State Council, Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta on Monday, the Chairman, Ogun State Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) Comr. Folorunsho Olanrewaju stated that the Pension Reform Law made in 2006 and amended in 2013 was a product of collective bargaining whereas that of 2020 alleged to have been hurriedly passed by the state assembly was unilaterally done without inputs from the stakeholders.
Comr. Olanrewaju disclosed that this did not only contravenes International Labour Convention but was also immoral, unconstitutional and smack off mischief on the part of the state assembly for doing things that could be considered to be unfortunate for our growing democracy.
He explained further that the new Pension Reform Law now stated that all employees of the state and local governments irrespective of grades are now regarded as subscribers of the contributory pension scheme effective from 30th of June, 2014 whereas the amended Pension Reform Law of 2013 of the state had picked 2025 as the effective date for the implementation of the contributory pension scheme.
Olanrewaju revealed that “what this means is that the state and local government have no further liability with their employees once disengaged from the service. Those already in retirement from the said date are to be lumped into the new arrangement and should jettison the hitherto held hope of benefitting gratuities”.
He stated further that unfortunately, in the last nine years the state government had not demonstrated a clear conscience to this contributory pension scheme and had consistently defaulted in remitting over N49bn deducted contributory pension from the state workers to the appropriate Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
Olanrewaju said that it was disheartening to witness the deliberate maltreatment of the senior citizens of the state who had served the state with black hair and now be left to wallow in anguish saying that this no doubt could encourage those still serving the state to resort to self help and indulge in corrupt practices.
While saying that the state workers had also lost faith in the Government-Labour Consultative forum set up by the governor, the workers also demanded the immediate reversal of this controversial law within the next seven days to avert total strike by the workers.
Olanrewaju disclosed that other labour issues Gov Dapo Abiodun had failed to address include payment of backlog of leave bonuses from 2015 to 2020, non remittance of eight months cooperative deductions, failure to implement new minimum wage saying that it appeared the government derives joy in taking its work force for granted.