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Workers shut down Delta Assembly over salary structure

Members of the Delta State branch of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) have shot down the state House of Assembly over what they…

Members of the Delta State branch of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) have shot down the state House of Assembly over what they described as failed campaign promises of a new salary structure by the state governor, Sheriff Oborevwori.

The striking workers halted all activities within the Assembly, barricading the entrance and denying access to the Speaker and other lawmakers.

Expressing their disappointment, the workers highlighted the prolonged absence of payment for the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS), which has now lingered for three years without resolution.

Additionally, they raised concerns regarding the regularization of casual staff, the training of employees, and various outstanding entitlements that have yet to be addressed.

During an enlarged meeting held on Tuesday, the workers had voiced their frustration with what they perceived as deliberate stalling tactics to deprive them of their legitimate benefits.

They said that such “inaction” showed a lack of political will on the part of the Assembly’s leadership and the government at large.

Issuing a communique to the Speaker, which was also copied to directors, national President of PASAN, the Commissioner of Police in Delta State, the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), and the chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in Delta State, the state chairman of PASAN, Emmanuel Edozie, and secretary, Emmanuel Osubor, outlined their grievances.

Recalling a previous suspension of a strike action, which was scheduled for February 28 of this year, the workers noted that they had allowed for a grace period to enable the full implementation of financial autonomy and payment.

However, despite the intervention of the Conference of Speakers and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, the situation remained unchanged.

The workers expressed their disappointment that the two-week appeal granted by the speaker to a committee established by the governor to devise a payment plan for CONLESS had elapsed without any significant progress.

The workers equally expressed their displeasure at the lack of attention given to other pressing matters raised during the March 28 meeting, including training, funding for the DTHA clinic, and the regularization of casual staff.

They added that despite a two-month timeframe, these critical issues had yet to be addressed or acknowledged.

The communique concluded by stating that the workers had displayed immense patience and restraint, considering the challenging economic climate. However, they said their patience had reached its limit, necessitating this decisive action to demand what is rightfully theirs.

The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Emomotimi Guwor, described the strike as unnecessary.

In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Nkem Nwaeke, he noted that the timing of the strike was absolutely wrong, as it prevented the workers from participating in the first year anniversary of Governor Oborevwori, when Deltans were celebrating God’s grace upon the state and the milestones achieved by the governor within just a year.

He expressed reservations that a section of the media capitalized on the unfortunate situation to misinform the public, explaining that the issue at stake had nothing to do with non-payment of salaries as the state government was up to date with payment of workers’ salaries across the various arms of government.

The Speaker disclosed that the main issue in contention was the implementation of the Consolidated Legislative Salary Scheme, CONLESS, in Delta State, which centered on enhanced salaries structure for the workers.

Guwor noted that the implementation of CONLESS was a national issue and that negotiations had reached an advanced stage as it concerned Delta State.

“A high power Committee was set up by His Excellency, Rt Hon Sheriff F.O. Oborevwori to work out modalities for the implementation of CONLESS in the State.

“The Committee, which has the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, as Chairman, also has the State Head of Service, Accountant General of the State, the Private Secretary to the Governor (PSG), the Acting Clerk of the House, the Chairman of the State Chapter of PASAN, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, amongst others as members.

“The Committee has been working assiduously to ensure that its recommendations meet the standard and expectations of all stakeholders,” Guwor said.

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