The Standards Organisation of Nigeria has clarified its position on allegations by the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, following which the Union picketed the SON Corporate Headquarters in Abuja.
Addressing newsmen during the picketing, SON’s Head, Public Relations, Bola Fashina, disclosed that it is the Union rather than SON that was disrespecting the directive from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, which clarified the jurisdictional scope of the two recognised Unions in SON.
The Ministry clarified that AUPCTRE is to unionise the junior staff, while the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies does the same for senior staff, Fashina said.
The SON spokesman alluded to the payment of 20 per cent of staff total emoluments as part of the Conditions of Service since 2017 in addition to other welfare packages like group life insurance and provision of consumables during festivities among others.
Fashina stated that the Management found it necessary to inform the staff of the clarification from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment for proper guidance on the exercise of their rights of association.
He said: “Arrears of salaries owed staff employed in 2016 before the appointment the current Director General was 16 months which now remains only two months to be paid. It has been appropriated in the 2019 budget and will soon be paid by the Federal Government through the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System as stated recently by Accountant General of the Federation.”
On contract awards for general sensitisation, Fashina stated that the programmes followed an identified gap in the organisation’s reach out to stakeholders, stressing that they are appropriated.
He said the awards follow the requirements of the procurement act.
They are also complementary to the regular activities of the SON State Offices in educating sectoral stakeholders, Fashina said.
The SON spokesman stated that issues of secondment of officers between Government organisations are provided for in the Public Service Rules, emphasising that the organisation is within extant provisions.
Commenting on purported promotion of staff within months of employment, he emphasised that graduates of between 15 years to 20 years wrongly employed on CONRAISS 7 and 8 were advanced based on their qualifications and requisite experiences.
He stressed that due process was followed, with the concurrence of the Hon. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, secured in the absence of the SON Governing Council in place then.
On the way forward, Fashina stated Management has extended its hand of fellowship to the AUPCTRE to dialogue towards arriving at a consensus.
This, he said, included invitation to Union representatives to take their place in a Committee set up to harmonise the two versions of existing CoS from 2012 and 2016.
According to him, letters were dispatched to the National President of AUPCTRE with a copy to the FCT branch and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, inviting the union to the negotiating table.
The meeting was scheduled to be held at 12pm on May 15, 2019.
The FCT branch of AUPCTRE, led by Comrade Aliyu Maradun, Chairman, and Sikiru Waheed, Secretary, mobilized its members across Abuja to disrupt activities at the SON Headquarters, Abuja.
Addressing the press, the Labour leaders accused the SON Management of disrespecting a directive from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment on voluntarism, coercion and harassment of their members.
Their other grouses include:
– request for immediate approval of CoS
– promotion of some staff from CONRAISS 8 to 10, 7 to 11 within months of their resumption
– immediate payment of outstanding salary arrears of staff employed in 2016 and 2018 promotion arrears
– immediate return of all Officers on Directorate Cadre on secondment to SON and
– Independent review of contracts for nationwide Stakeholders sensitization workshops.