The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Public Complaints Commission (PCC) chapter, on Wednesday directed all staff of the commission nationwide to embark on an indefinite strike.
The workers are asking for immediate implementation of the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS), from their Chief Commissioner, Abimbola Ayo-Yusuf, as well as the payment of outstanding arrears being owed from 2018 to 2022.
PCC is the Nigerian Ombudsman saddled with the duties of resolving all forms of complaints from the public, alongside administrative injustice from government offices and private organizations.
Persecondnews reports that on November 24, 2021, the the Senate had upgraded salary scale of staff of the PCC from Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPASS) to Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS).
The staff at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja were reported to have put the office under lock and key, thereby preventing the chief commissioner from gaining access to his office.
Persecondnews reports that the Chief Commissioner resorted to bringing in men of the Nigeria Police Force to break the lock at the gate, but did not succeed as he was resisted by the aggrieved staff who manned the gate.
Speaking with Persecondnews correspondent, the Chairman of PASAN, PCC chapter, Mrs. Margaret Ibeku, disclosed that they have not been paid CONLESS since it was implemented.
She said: “We were last year shifted to another salary structure, with effect from October, up till now it has not been implemented.
“Unfortunately for us because we were moved over to this salary structure, this 40 percent increase in salary, we were also not paid. In fact, we are like people lost in the middle of nowhere. Where we left, we were not paid, where they moved us to, they are not paying us.
“We left from the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPASS), the salary structure that covers the majority of the public servants. We were moved over to legislative salary because 12 years ago, we were moved to the National Assembly.
“So our salaries were returned to the salary scale of the national assembly. Now pat us the scale of the National Assembly, they can’t; to pay us the scale of the public service new increase, they still cannot. We are just lost in the middle of nowhere.
“Also, for five years, they cannot pay the promotion arrears of our staff. We have been asking were the money has been going to. They claimed the money was not given to them, but to the best of our knowledge they had the money.
“There have also been so many failed promises. So, after so many meetings and negotiation, we have to go on strike.”
Also speaking, the PASAN Secretary, PCC chapter, Akoja Johnson, noted said they were given the approval for the payment of the CONLESS since October 1, 2022.
“We have right months unpaid arrears of CONLESS. According to our Chief Commissioner, there is no money to pay. He said the budget for 2023 is small, and our CONLESS is not included in it.
“So, basically we are just demanding for the payment of our promotion arrears and the implementation CONLESS.
“We held talks with the Chief Commissioner and he said they are expecting money from supplementary budget,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, PCC staff of some states, such as Lagos and Kaduna, have been threatened with queries should they join the strike as part of efforts to break the strike.