Treat Pensioners with respect – Labour Boss
By; Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar.
The State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Cross River chapter, Comrade John Ushie, has called on Federal and State governments to accord due respect to retired civil servants who have toiled over the years serving their nation by releasing their gratuity and pensions as at when due.
This will go a long way to encourage serving civil servants to put more efforts towards the development of the nation economically and socially.
Ushie made the call while speaking in an exclusive interview with New Nigerian in Calabar in his office on the issue of nonpayment of gratuity, pensions to retired civil servants across the country.
He said that the nonpayment of gratuity and pensions as at when due to retirees have brought severe untold hardship to the affected persons in the country.
According to him, “some of the retirees have died in the course of trying to draw their entitlements which were nowhere forthcoming”.
He described the scenario as not acceptable to labour and called on all stakeholders to work out a mechanism whereby retirees would not experience these ugly processes in trying to get what belongs to them after 35 meritorious years in the service of the nation.
Ushie declared “as labour, we are not happy about this development. Various governments should have a second look on this issue and come out with a systematic way of addressing it ones and for all with less stress on those who have served their fatherland without a stain on their names”.
He also called on federal and state governments to review the current pensions paid to pensioners to meet with the current realities on ground, adding that “it is a sad development. It is a sacrilege for a man to work for 35 years without drawing his or her entitlements on time.
The chairman however, commended the Cross River State Government for putting a system that has been described as the best in terms of payment of gratuity/pensions to retired civil servants and urged other states to emulate it.
He called on the state government to extend the same gesture to retirees of the local governments in the state.
Regrettably, he said, many local government pensioners have died while waiting for the release of their entitlements and described the situation as very ugly.
In a related development, Ushie, announced the suspension of three unions for anti labour acts following the report of a committee set up to investigate them. The unions are, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), JUSUN and NULGE
He said the decision to suspend them was taken at its State Executive Council (SEC) meeting. The committee sat and invited the concerned leadership of the unions, but they failed to turn-up to defend themselves.
Also in the report, the SEC frowned at the proposed conferment of an award by NULGE to the state Governor, Senator Ben Ayade, describing it “as the highest level of fraud and attempt to beignet the governor and the state to reap personal benefits”.
He said “no individual union has the mandate to confer such an award talk less of a union that is discredited and suspended by the Labour Centre in the state”.
Therefore, he urged Ayade to discountenance such a proposition or any of the kind aimed at beguiling him against the realities on ground.
He commended the state government for the release of arrears of check-off dues to the various unions in compliance with the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between government and labour, adding that “government is yet to implement the other items on the MoU and reminded it of the need to do so in order to encourage industrial harmony in the state.