Akin Akande, Abuja
Official activities were on Wednesday paralyzed at the National Headquarters of NIPOST as members of the National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees (NUPTE) numbering over hundred, shut down the complex to protest the non-payment of special allowances owed them since 2011.
The protest, which started as early as 9am involved most of the junior workers, some of whom are also aggrieved that NIPOST management has not been able to pay them their allowances, ranging from earned allowances, transfer allowance, burial expenses and repatriation allowances.
Some of the protesters were seen carrying placards with inscriptions such as, “Level 6 receiving N23,000 only, how do we cope”; “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop”; “non-payment of rent enhancement”; non-remittance of tax deductions to FIRS”.
President of NUPTE, Sunday Alhassan, at the protest said the workers were also displeased with cases of selective promotion in the organization without effecting any increase in their salaries.
He said their grievances had been previously transmitted through a letter to the Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, but nothing has been done to address the situation.
“These are NIPOST workers protesting over organization’s inability to pay them their earned allowances, these allowances also cover transfer allowance, burial expenses and repatriation allowance which has not been paid for more than two years now,” he said.
“We have cases of workers here being promoted without financial connection for over two years, we have discriminatory payment of what they call rent enhancement to some categories of workers while some are not earning it and we have complained to the management over these years and they have refused to listen that is why the workers are actually protesting,” he added.
The NIPOST management, however, agreed to commence the payment of 2006 productivity incentive from December, 2013 and end in June, 2014.
The union had earlier issued a 3-day ultimatum to the management of NIPOST, which elapsed on Wednesday to begin a full-scale strike, if the authority failed to meet their demands.
This followed a closed door meeting between the management of NIPOST and leadership of the workers after which the management also agreed to pay rent enhancement to workers on salary grade level 13 and below with effect from 2014.
The resolutions were contained in a communique issued at the end of the meeting jointly signed by the management and representatives of workers.
NIPOST management also agreed to ensure that none of the allowances would be carried over to 2014 just as it promised that non-members of the workers union or staff would be victimised for their participation in the three days warning strike.
NUPTE President Sunday Alhassan who was at the meeting announced that the three day warning strike has been put off.