The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Southwest zone on Thursday rejected the bill proposing the removal of workers’ salaries and wages from the exclusive list, saying workers will suffer untold hardship if the bill scale through.
The pensioners expressed concern that, the bill if signed into law will empower state governors to intimidate, maltreat and punish workers.
Raising from their bi-monthly meeting held in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, the pensioners, said the removal of salaries and wages from the exclusive list will also worsen the already pathetic plights of pensioners across the country.
The meeting was attended by pensioners from Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and Lagos states.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the Public Relations Officer of NUP, Southwest zone, Comrade Olusegun Abatan, condemned the bill, saying “It is quite insulting and out of common sense and logic that every point in time workers and pensioners are left to bear the brunt of mis-governance in Nigeria”.
Abatan wondered why, the salaries and wages of workers should be removed from the exclusive list to the concurrent list and the salaries of the President, Vice President and other political appointees would remain on the exclusive list.
He said, “The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Southwest zone is in alignment with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on the demand that salaries and wages should not be removed from the exclusive list to the concurrent list.
“All pensioners in the whole of the federation are in support of this because we know that if this happens to workers, it will be worse for pensioners because at that level, the governors will do nothing than to start intimidating and punishing workers and they will start giving them whatever they want to give them”.
“I wonder why the government wants to remove salaries and wages from the exclusive list and at the same time keep their own salaries in the exclusive list.
“The salaries of the President and the Vice President, Senators, House of Representative members and Commissioners are consolidated and on the exclusive list, why are they not moving their own salaries from the exclusive list to the concurrent list? And it is only the workers who are being given pea nuts that you want to remove their salaries and wages from the exclusive list.”
He accused state governments of insensitivity to pensioners’ plights, saying the Federal and some state governments had refused to implement the 33.4 per cent pension increment since 2010.
“As I speak with you, Ondo state is owing its pensioners from November 2020 to date and we want to appeal to governor Rotimi Akeredolu to address the issue of non payment pensions of our members in Ondo state promptly.
“We don’t want to believe that the pension of our members is being used for non essential pension matters.”
Abatan said the national body of the union has given the Federal government a 21-day ultimatum to address the pension increase, “otherwise pensioners will go on the street to demonstrate.
“Ogun state like other governments in the nation has violated and still violating the constitutional provisions of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended section 210(3) where it is stated that pension should be increased concomitantly as wages of workers are increased.
“Ogun state government has refused to implement the pension increase of our members since 2010, I’m talking of the 33.4 percent pension increase”, Abatan said.
He accused the Osun state government of selective payment of gratuities to pensioners.
“In Osun state, the payment of gratuity is done to selected pensioners, rather than all pensioners. We want the governor of Osun state, Gboyega Oyetola to please remove this selectivity in payment of gratuity to pensioners in the state”.