Former workers of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) under the aegis of the Nigerian Ports Authority Concerned Pensioners have threatened to stage a protest on Friday over the failure of NPA to review the workers pension benefit in the past 10 years.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday in Lagos, spokesman of the group, Charles Ayo Binitie stated that the agency has not reviewed their pension benefit in the past 10 years which according to him is against the constitution which states that pensions shall be reviewed every five years.
He said NPA had since January 2008 reviewed salary of serving workers but has refused to review the pension rates payable to pensioners describing the action as an act of injustice.
“The NPA Concerned Pensioners is a child of necessity to agitate for the payment of the benefit of NPA pensioners in accordance with section 173 subsections 3 of the Nigerian constitution 1999, which states that ‘Pensions shall be reviewed every five years or together with any Federal Civil Service Salary Reviews, whichever is earlier.
“By a letter with Reference No: SWC.78/S.2/90 dated 30th of January, 2008, the National Salaries, Income & Wages Commission approved a comprehensive review of the benefits payable to NPA employees, to take effect from January 1, 2008. This approval was immediately implemented by the NPA management.
“By another letter with Reference No: SWC.78/S.2/169 dated 19th August, 2015, the same National Salaries Incomes & Wages Commission also advised the NPA management to review the pension rates payable to the agency’s pensioners, pursuant to section 173 subsection 3 of the Nigerian constitution 1999. However, this advice has not been heeded by the NPA management despite several entreaties and appeals by us for dialogue on the matter. This is injustice,” he said.
Binitie said all the aggrieved former workers agreed to embark on the protest after all effort to meet with the NPA management to resolve the issue failed.
“As a result of the frustration we have been subjected to by the vehement refusal of NPA management to dialogue with us, we had to make representation to the Honourable Minister of Transportation on February 1st, 2016.
“The Honourable Minister thereafter approved the constitution of a Tripartite Committee meeting of the NPA Concerned Pensioners, NPA management and Representatives of the Transportation Ministry to look into our plight.
“The Committee had its first meeting from 28th to 29th of July, 2016 while the second meeting was held on the 19th of October, 2016. These two meetings held in NPA Headquarters did not achieve any conclusive decision on the matter, owing to the absence of the NPA Executive Director, Finance and Administration; as a result of which adjournments were recorded on the two occasions. Since then, NPA management has not been forthcoming and has made it very difficult for the continuation of the Tripartite meetings to resolve the issue once and for all.
“Following this, the NPA Concerned Pensioners gave the NPA a 14-day ultimatum to do what is right or face the consequence. However, nothing was done and that ultimatum lapsed. We gave them another 7-day ultimatum in December 2016; no action was still carried out by the NPA. We have now given them a 3-day final ultimatum (from March 6th, 2017) which expires by 12am today, failure for them to take action will result in us taking all actions that will get us our benefits from the agency.
“If we don’t hear from the NPA by 12am midnight today, we will converge here on Friday to stage a protest in pursuant of our objective,” he said.
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