CLS Calls on Imo Govt to Pay Backlog of Pensions, Salaries As and When Due

The Centre for Labour Studies (CLS) has called on the Imo State government to pay the state’s pensioners the backlog of unpaid pensions since February 2020. CLS made the call in a statement signed by Comrade Femi Aborisade and made available to National Record on Thursday.

The statement revealed that the unpaid pensions have compelled the pensioners to engage in a unique form of protest, where they now go out to beg for alms.

The non-payment of pensions in the State has compelled pensioners to embark on a completely novel mode of mass protest termed “alms-begging protest” for material survival and to draw public attention to their plight,” Comrade Aborisade said, as he added that the state government equally owes other categories of workers several months of unpaid salaries. He added that apart from the unpaid pensions and inconsistent payment of salaries, the CLS reliably gathered from the state’s workers that whenever wages are paid, “they are paid haphazardly in ridiculous percentages.”

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Stating further that the non-payment of wages as and when due is not only unlawful but also unconstitutional, Comrade Aborisade also stated that salary payment method in Imo State contravenes the Protection of Wages Convention No. 95 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which, in Article 12(1), makes it mandatory and obligatory, that “wages shall be paid regularly”.

“Nigeria ratified ILO Convention No. 95 on the 17th day of October 1960. By the authority of Section 254C(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, the provisions of ILO Convention No. 95 have become constitutional provisions. By the authority of the NICN in Aero Contractors Co. of Nigeria Limited v. National Association of Aircrafts Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) & ors [2014] 42 NLLR (Pt. 133) 664 NIC delivered by His Lordship Hon. Justice B. B. Kanyip, PhD (as he then was, but now the President of the NICN), ILO Conventions that have been ratified prevail over any other domestic legislation by virtue of their Constitutional status.

“The Centre for Labour Studies (CLS) calls on the entire organized labour to take practical action and support the pensioners in Imo State, to ensure payment of wages, which include pensions, in all the states of the Federation.

“It is the height of inexplicable callousness for governments to impose lockdown on account of COVID-19 and still fail to pay wages to ensure workers and their families are able to purchase food for necessary nutrition to be able to resist COVID-19,” Comrade Aborisade stated.

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