Posted by News Express | 11 December 2020 | 591 times
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned that it will not hesitate in mobilising workers nationwide, to protest any move by state governors to borrow N17 trillion from the pension funds, in the name of infrastructural development.
The NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, publicly opposed the proposal by the governors led by Chairman of the National Economic Council Adhoc Committee, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. He said that the pension fund which was the savings of workers ahead of their retirement from active service, must not be tampered with.
Wabba said this while speaking at the 47th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) on Thursday in Abuja. He stressed the state governments doesn’t have any authority over the money, saying it is largely made up of contributory funds from federal and private sector workers.
The NLC president lamented that with over 18 state governments still delaying implementation of the new national minimum wage, it was unheard of that same governments would want to borrow the pension money, a contributory fund of workers.
“Pension money is not for borrowing, pension money is in the retirement savings of workers it cannot be borrowed. It’s like money in your savings account that nobody can borrow the money.
“You must go through the bank and in this case, you must go through the PFAs and their guidelines; even the guidelines they want to play down but to the glory of God, the board of Pencom commission has been constituted.
“I stand here to represent all of you, we are not going to agree; less than 5% of the states are keying into the contributory pension yet they want to borrow the money. Bulk of the money is from federal government workers and private sector workers so how do you want to borrow from where you have not sown?
“It’s not free money and let me sound a bit of warning, any day that we hear the pension fund, our money has been borrowed, I will declare a protest and everybody is going to be on the street to protect our hard earned money.
“The money belongs to workers, we contribute that money so that when we retire we can have something for retirement so they have no say whatsoever, both the principal and the capital belongs to us.”
“Let me sound warning to assure all of you workers from across the length and breadth of this country, to say that our money will be save. We will do everything possible to ensure that nobody comes to dip his hands into the money. We are not going to allow our standards to be lowered than what obtains in other climes,” Wabba said.
On his part, the National President, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah, condemned federal government’s involvement in scuttling strike actions through the use of some Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), stressing that workers have legal rights to embark on industrial actions to drive home their demands.
“In a plethora of cases, the courts have affirmed the right of the workers to embark on strike. That strike is a legitimate weapon available to the Trade Union to ventilate their grievances especially when the provision is S.41 of the Trade Dispute Act bordering on number of days has been compiled with.
“I would therefore appeal to the Federal Government to enrich our industrial relations practice through the interplay of the relationship between the management (Government) and the workers (Trade Unions) rather than scuttling the relationship through a third party interloper represented by the NGOs.” (Daily Sun)
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