MINIMUM WAGE STRIKE GROUNDS

By NBF News
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Members of the Parliamentary Staff Association, Edo State House of Assembly branch yesterday embarked on an indefinite strike to protest the non-inclusion of their members in the implementation of the minimum wage payment.

The strike grounded all activities at the Assembly complex as over 100 staff of the union barricaded the entrance of the Anthony Enahoro complex with drums and galvanized pipes, chanting solidarity songs.

The free flow of vehicular and human movement at the ever busy Ring Road area was hampered as a result of the protest as they blocked every available space around the complex.

According to the branch Chairman, Adebo Andrew, the protest became necessary to demand for their unpaid July salary and non-inclusion in the new minimum wage.

He said that the law establishing the Edo State House of Assembly Commission which was passed in 2001 empowers the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission to fix salaries and allowances of staff of the Assembly.

'Part 2 section 10 of that Constitution provides that 'the remuneration of staff of the Edo State House of Assembly shall be as determined by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission in the case of the Clerk or as obtainable in the State Civil service in the case of others. We rightly belong to the category of others.'

'We are, however, surprised that our vouchers were sent to the Accountant-General's Office were returned, only to come and inform us that we are not in the catchment area for the implementation of the new minimum wage. The question we are asking is this, 'where do we belong?' We don't enjoy other salary structure,'  Mr. Andrew told journalists. He pointed out that all the  staff were in the same salary structure that the core civil servants were enjoying and wondered  why they should now be excluded from the implementation of the minimum wage.

Beside the minimum wage,  the protesters are pressing for the settlement of the lingering promotion examination saga that has put their promotions on hold for about two years now.

'Before now, we have had series of problems that we have been itching to solve. We are going to use this opportunity to solve those problems as well.

'It is the problem of promotion. Since 2009 when the purported internal promotion was conducted, there were some staff who were not promoted, and they are still not promoted till today. In 2010, it was said that the promotion examination was conducted.

'Out of 127 staff, only 16 wrote the exam. By our own judgment, that promotion exam is a failure and unsuccessful. As I am talking to you, the 113 who refused to participate in the exam are still not promoted,' Mr. Andrew said.