STATEMENT: The Management team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has advised the staff Union of the Commission to jettison the proposed industrial action scheduled to commence on the 16th of July this month over the unpaid new minimum wage and investigations allowances.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq who disclosed this in Abuja over the weekend called on the members of staff of the Commission to reject the temptation to embark on strike saying that the Commission under his watch was making frantic and relentless efforts to persuade the federal government to release funds to pay the minimum wage arrears and investigations allowances.
Ojukwu further said that the situation is similar with other sister organisation’s like INEC Public Complaints Commission, the Judiciary and NASS, that are on the statutory transfer or first line charge in the federal allocation system as only MDAs on IPPIS have been paid the new minimum wage and arrears.
He disclosed that his management team took time to explain the various efforts it had made to the Executive Members of the Federal Civil Service Union and the NHRC unit and that industrial harmony rather than a strike is what is needed to further deepen the interface with the government towards securing the release of the necessary funds to pay the government approved minimum wage arrears and the consequential additions in the monthly salaries going forward.
The NHRC Chief Executive Officer recalled Management’s numerous staff welfare programs and its avowed stance to prioritise the interest and welfare of the staff of the Commission saying that it has been his passion to ensure that members of staff of the Commission enjoy all statutory and consequential benefits like the improved investigations allowances to assuage the numerous hazards that staff of the Commission are confronted with in the course of discharging their duties.
According to the Executive Secretary, the protection and investigation allowances of the Commission had not been reviewed since 10 years but Management had approached the National Income, Salaries and Wages Commission (NISWC) which had reviewed this recently and recommended some increase to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) for approval but the office of the SGF and Federal Ministry of Finance have been delaying to approve the recommended allowances by NISWC. This is affecting staff morale and jeopardizing investigation of complaints on human rights violations.
He further explained that NHRC staff like other investigation agencies go through a lot of stress and difficulties in carrying out their tasks and this should be appreciated by approving their legitimate Investigation allowances as situations abound when the staff have had to augment the present paltry allowances paid for investigation with their personal funds to ensure they complete investigation assignments given to them.
He however expressed surprise that the staff union executives did not reason with the management to shelve the proposed industrial action despite explanations that the Commission’s Management team has no hands in the delay of the payment of the minimum wage and the investigation allowances to the entire staff of the NHRC and also considering the fact that other agencies on statutory transfer have not received their own new minimum wage and arrears.
Assistant Director Public Affairs, National Human Rights Commission.