Workers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have accused the agency of failing to implement the payment of N30,000 new minimum wage.
They are threatening a showdown with the management.
But spokesman for the commission, Mr. Festus Okoye, said the issue will get attention after the COVID-19 pandemic may have fizzled out.
Senior workers of the agency, through the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), in a letter by the Secretary-General, Isaac Ojenhenke, noted that since the tenure of the chairman will end in October, the “workers are apprehensive that failure to implement the new minimum wage will create problems” for the incoming board.
The workers accused INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu of being “strident in his efforts to ‘kill’ labour unions in the commission despite the court ruling that workers of the commission can join labour unions” by the transfer of union leaders out of the headquarters to other parts of the country “so that they would be unable to meet”.
The association cautioned that “paying old wages no doubt can encourage workers to seek additional financial support elsewhere.”
According to the letter addressed to the INEC Chairman, “the national leadership of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, the union that constitutes Council 1 of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), is surprised that INEC, the symbol of democracy in Nigeria, has failed to comply with the directive of the Federal Government over this all important wage matter.
“Sequel to the above and the need to promote peace and harmony in INEC, ASCSN wishes to request that the INEC management should implement the consequential adjustment on salary of members of INEC staff with effect from April 18, 2019 to February 2020, failing which the union will be left with no other alternative but to take appropriate trade union action to address the matter.”
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Voters’ Education and Information Committee Festus Okoye said the commission “is a sensitive and compassionate national institution that safeguards the interests and welfare of its staff and this explains why the commission paid the salaries and allowances of all its workers before the partial shutdown on the 24th of March 2020″.
He, however, noted that “the nation is fighting an existential war and the commission has mobilised part of its resources in support of the efforts of the government at returning the country to normalcy. In other words, national unity and solidarity must be the primary goal and focus of all Nigerians and national institutions.
“It will be highly insensitive and against the mood of the nation to address the issue of minimum wage at a time of national fear, anxiety and uncertainty. All Nigerians should play their part in returning the country to normalcy.”