Posted by BY LADI PATRICK, Abuja and JERRY AMAH on
Beginning today, workers in the employ of the federal government across the country will be mobilised ahead of a nation-wide strike....
Beginning today, workers in the employ of the federal government across the country will be mobilised ahead of a nation-wide strike to compel Aso Rock to negotiate terms of disengagement for about 33,000 federal civil servants. A 7-day ultimatum issued weekend expires mid-night Sunday.
Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN) , Barr. Solomon Onaghinon told NewAge yesterday that a meeting would today in Abuja “design the modus and subsequently direct our branch chairmen across the country on prescribed strategies and how to implement them if and when shove comes to push” Although he declined to reveal any futher details , another senior member of the union explained ,” if government fails to take advantage of the avenue we have provided for negotiation, we will not hesitate to ensure that all federal agencies, ministries and offices everywhere in the country are grounded indefinitely.”
NewAge however learnt that a source in the office of the Head of Civil Service had assured the unions in the public sector that the issue would be tabled for discussion at tomorrow’s Federal Executive Council meeting “and we are hopeful that President Obasanjo will not allow things to get out of hand”.
Meanwhile, if the Federal Government proceeds with its unpopular plans to retrench the already penciled down 33,000 civil servants, the country may be thrown into serious energy crisis as a result of threats from the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union (NUPENG) to go in solidarity with the workers.
Speaking with NewAge in his office in Lagos yesterday, the General Secretary, Comrade Elijah Okougbo, disclosed that NUPENG will as from the end of the seven-day ultimatum issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) commence a full scale mobilisation of its members across all oil and gas filed in the country, as injury to one is injury to all.
According to him, the idea of the government to retrench this number of federal workers will have adverse effect on the workers and his immediate family and thereby increase the already bad social problems in the country.
“NUPENG and other unions in the private sector will rally solidarity support to unions in the public service as injury to one is injury to all. This will be one sack too many as 33,000 citisens who federal government has decided to remove food their table will, going by African tradition, also result to their dependants suffering as a result of this simple action. This is even worse as it is taking place at a time when the nation is reaping so much from the sale of crude oil whose price has hit $73 per barrel in the international market.”
The joint national public service negotiating council weekend issued a 7-day ultimatum for the federal government to meet with it in order to resolve issues regarding the retrenchment of 33,000 of workers in the federal civil service.
Briefing jounalists at the weekend in Abuja, the joint council said the process adopted by Mallam el-Rufai in determining the sack of over 33,000 workers is irregular, arbtrary and illegitimate. It has said the issuance of retrenchment letters to affected workers should be stopped immediately
The council has directed all workers purportedly affected by the exercise not to accept any letter of premature disengagement as due process had not been followed. It added that if if the federal government failed to convene the meeting as requested, the trade unions in the joint council might resort to an industrial action. It said retrenchment of over 33,000 workers was a race to poverty without a social safty net “we do not believe that government's pursuit of profit motive and equitable economic growth should be at the expense of social justice and the denial of legitimate rights of its employees',” the council said.
Its added that the on-going retrenchment exercise was being in conflict with the federal government NEEDS document which had projected the creation of 7 million jobs
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