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Unpaid arrears: Workers shut down National Assembly, cripple businesses

Workers have shut down activities at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, forcing lawmakers to make a U-turn, including banks, restaurants, and other private businesses to close shops.

The workers, under the auspices of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, blocked the main entrance to the premises with a bus, while they danced to the music coming from a disc jockey stationed at the entrance.

Our correspondent observed that power and water supplies to the buildings had been cut, crippling public and private businesses.

PASAN had on Sunday announced the commencement of an indefinite strike by its members over the non-payment of a backlog of salaries and allowances by the management.

PASAN issued the strike notice via a statement issued by its Secretary-General, Hammed Awobifa.

In the statement titled ‘PASAN Declares Indefinite Strike to Demand Full Implementation of the Revised Conditions of Service (2018),’ the association stated that the industrial action was coming after three notices to the management led by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Amos Ojo, within three weeks.

The statement read, “The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, National Assembly Service Commission, and National Assembly (chapters), at its joint congress meeting (sic) of June 2, 2022, resolved to embark on an indefinite strike over the failure of the National Assembly management to implement the subsisting MoU jointly signed by NASC and NASS management and PASAN on April 13, 2021.

“PASAN had issued a communiqué on March 28, 2022, where it demanded full implementation of the subsisting MoU and the Revised Conditions of Service. It also notified the National Assembly management of 21 days, 14 days, and 7 days service of notice for industrial action if, by May 31, 2022, National Assembly Management failed to comply with the congress resolution.”

PASAN listed the items in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the parties to include 24 months’ arrears of minimum wage/consequential adjustment in which the management paid only 16 months, leaving a balance of eight months and 13 days; and full implementation of the Conditions of Service in the MoU signed in April 2021, to which implementation had started but stopped.

“In view of this unfortunate development, the Association is embarking on an indefinite Strike commencing from midnight on Sunday, June 5, 2022,” the statement added.

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