AKHERE Godwin, Benin
Workers in Edo state are poised for a showdown with the state government over commencement of deductions from their monthly salaries for the contributory pensions account this month.
They have therefore issue a seven-day ultimatum to the state government to withdraw from the planned action or ‘face an unpleasant protest that will cripple activities in the state.’
Chairman of the state chapter, Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, who stated this, weekend, during a press conference in Benin, the Edo state capital, expressed surprise at the letter issued by the Head of Service directing MDAs in the state to begin the exercise this month.
Comrade Ademokun described the exercise as shocking to workers in the state as necessary platforms and policies expected to have been put in place before the commencement of the scheme are not there yet.
“You can’t deduct workers salaries and keep it in a fixed deposit without paying the fund to the pension fund administrators as required by law,” the NLC chairman warned.
“The Head of Service should follow the due process of the law, he must constitute a commission to regularize that of the state and local governments and put the PFA in place. The Head of Service cannot single-handedly pick PFA for Edo state workers.
“We are going to resist it to the last and this will lead to industrial action and disharmony in Edo state soon. We are not going to give a long term ultimatum and if the circular is not withdrawn within seven days we shall embark on street protest to press home our demands.
“We have been sensitizing our workforce over this issue of Contributory Pensions Fund in Edo state and we have virtually organized workshops and seminars for up to about three times to actually educate our members so that when we now kick start this pensions fund it will not be a surprise to Edo state workers and as you are aware the issue of pensions is already a law in Edo state.”
“But we are surprised to see a letter from the Head of Service yesterday that the deductions start this month and it actually shocked us because the organized labour because the institutions that are supposed to be in place before the commencement of the scheme have not actually been inaugurated.”
“You can’t deduct workers salaries and keep it in a fixed deposit without paying the fund to the pension fund administrators as required by law. For this, we are directing Edo state workers not to be worried as we have directed the Edo state government to withdraw the circular within 24 hours, failure which we shall call the entire Edo state workers out on a state wide protest against this circular,” the NLC leader stressed.