The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) under the federal ministry of education and the representatives of the ministry have met to resolve some lingering trade issues with the aim of averting industrial action as threatened by the workers.
At the meeting, which was held on Wednesday at the ministry, the union, however, insisted that a trade dispute that had been declared on the implementation of the new retirement age without conditions “should be allowed to play out.”
These resolutions were contained in a memorandum of understanding issued by the union’s leadership and the representatives of the ministry.
The ministry’s director of human resources and the overseeing officer in the absence of a substantive permanent secretary, David Gende, and a deputy director, and resident labour desk officer, Okafor Ifeyinwa, signed the resolutions on behalf of the government while ASCSN general secretary, Lawal Bashir, signed on behalf of the workers’ union.
The contentious issues between the union and the ministry include the non-payment of promotion and salary arrears; non-payment of first 28 days allowance in lieu of hotel accommodation; non-capturing of officers recruited since 2018; refusal to sign and implement the agreement reached on the management and ownership of the staff nursery and primary schools (SNAPs); and refusal to implement without any precondition, the directive of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, on the extension of retirement age or service year of education officers in federal unity colleges (FUCs).
The ministry promised to pay all outstanding promotion and salary arrears of workers for 2018 and 2019 on or before April 30.
It also said at least 919 officers of the newly recruited staff already captured and are placed on payroll will receive their December and January salaries next week, while those who are yet to be captured will receive theirs by February.
The ministry said it has set aside N10 million for the payment of the first 28 days allowance to deserving staff beginning January 2022, adding that the sum will be “reviewed progressively as situation improves”.
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“Efforts will be made to give the displaced staff in the North East priority in the payment of their 1st 28 days and the management will liaise with the Principals of affected schools to get any other support,” the MoU noted.
The ministry added that a committee will be set up to look into the prepared policy guidelines and memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishment and operation of the staff nursery and primary schools and submit the documents for action within four weeks.
ASCSN had on January 6 after its annual general meeting (AGM) with unit chairmen, zonal coordinators and national executive officers, issued a 14-day ultimatum before a full-blown strike would be declared if there was no positive action from the government.
The union had earlier given a 21-day ultimatum which expired on 6 January, for its demands to be addressed.