Workers in the nation’s public service have threatened a showdown with the federal government over its inability to pay salaries for three months.
Already, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has concluded plans to call out its members for an industrial action to compel government agencies to pay workers’ outstanding salaries from October to December.
Raising the red alert in Abuja on Thursday, the ASCSN Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, expressed sadness over government’s attitude towards workers in the civil service.
He alleged that the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Works, Labour and Productivity as well as a host of other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have not paid salaries to their workers since October this year.
“As we write, information reaching the union from informed quarters indicate that about 30 ministries, departments and agencies will not pay December 2014 salaries to their employees.
“It is very unfortunate that since October 2014, the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Works, Labour and Productivity as well as a host of other MDAs have not paid salaries to their workers,” the unionist said.
The implication, he added, is that thousands of civil servants and their families would celebrate Christmas and New Year without salaries.
The union called on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene and ensure that workers in the civil service are paid their salaries before the festive period.
It equally urged government to use the N9.2 billion earmarked to buy stoves for “rural women” to offset the three months salary arrears.
“We cannot understand how N9.2 billion would be spent on stoves while workers who toil daily to keep the wheels of government functioning cannot be paid their meagre salaries,” the union stated.
It recalled that last year more than 40 MDAs could not pay December 2013 salaries to their workers, adding that when the union raised the alarm, government officials were quick to deny the development prompting the association to publish the names of the MDAs that were involved in the unpaid salaries saga.
“Based on this sad experience of last year, one would have expected that serious steps would have been taken to ensure that the ugly scenario does not repeat itself.
“Unfortunately, we are now back to square one. Workers, to say the least, are very sad as they can no longer meet their immediate needs as a result of refusal of government to pay them their salaries,” the union added.