THE Chairman of the Parliamentary staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), National Assembly Chapter, Bature Musa Mohammad, has insisted the association will embark on an indefinite industrial action if their demands are not met.
He said: “The picketting (of the National Assembly), which started on Tuesday December 4, 2018, was to last till Thursday December 6, 2018 a prelude to and warning signal about a proposed total strike action billed to take place in two weeks time, precisely December 18, 2018.”
It would be recalled that the National Assembly workers had on Tuesday December4, shut down the two chambers in the parliament over certain demands from the management of the NASS and prevented lawmakers from sitting.
They are demanding for the payment of the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS), Condition of Service, Promotion, Conversion, Upgrading and Training, among others.
Speaking with journalists, Muhammad said following the intervention of the principal officers of the two chambers of the National Assembly, who assured that the outstanding salary arrears and allowances would be paid soon, they had decided to suspend the picketing.
He, however, threatened that the National Assembly would be shut down again if their demands were not attended to.
His words: “We hereby reiterate that the proposed indefinite industrial action that will ground all legislative activities of the National Assembly will commence as earlier scheduled if our demands are not met as promised.”
He said the picketing that was done on Tuesday was not illegal as was declared by the spokesman of the House of Representatives, adding that the action was in line with the Union Act.
He said: “We’ve been empowered by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is supreme to any other law. We are alsobbacked up by the Trade Union Act to do what we have done so far.
“So, it’s left to the leadership t to handle this situation and avoid any embarrassment that the House might receive. As far as we’re concerned, we’re doing what is legitimate and right”.
According to Muhammad, the sins of the NASS management included the delay in making appropriate appointments into offices such as the Deputy Clerk, National Assembly (DCNA); Deputy Clerk House of Representatives (Legislative and Admin); secretaries of directorates and directors of departments.
He also complained about the issue of consultancy, saying that: “It is disappointing to inform you that in recent times, some top management staff who have retired from service are not allowed to proceed on retirement”.
He said the management unilaterally claimed that “there are no vacancies for staff on Grade Level 7 and above, in gross violation of the service rules, as they arrogated to itself the power of the National Assembly Service Commission.
He said that it is the duty of the commission, “in line with the provision of the National Assembly Service Act, to appoint, promote and discipline the staff of the National Assembly.”