12th August, 2011
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Ogun State chapter, has accused the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) of being insensitive to the plight of pensioners.
Making the allegation at a press conference yesterday, the Ogun State Secretary of NUP, Comrade Bola Lawal, accused the NLC of failing to negotiate for an increase in the monthly take home pay of pensioners.
He submitted that it is the opinion of majority of members that the NLC is insensitive to their plight.
According to Lawal, â€œwhat brought about our accusation was the failure of NLC to demand for increase in pension for Nigerian pensioners on each occasion that a minimum wage was approved for workers.â€
Quoting from the constitution, Lawal said Section 173 sub section 3 of the 1999 Constitution states: “Pensions shall be reviewed every five years or whenever there is increase in wages, pension also shall be increased.â€™
â€œThis is also a constitutional matter as does that of N18,000 minimum wage. Your congress did nothing until it pleased God to hear our prayers and in November 2010 we had six percent and later 15 percent increase in pension.â€
Quoting the level of NUP financial commitment to the NLC, Lawal said: â€œIn September 2008, the NUP made first payment of N92,000 to the NLC while in June 2011, a total sum of N159,512.10 was paid to the congress.
â€œWe are at it again. NLC and TUC have been spitting fire and brimstone that if N18,000 was not paid to workers Labour would turn Nigeria upside down. What plan do they have for pensioners? Are pensioners not entitled to minimum wage? Do we not buy from the same market?â€
He revealed that some of their members are still collecting a monthly pension of N1,800 to N3,000, â€œan amount not enough to feed the dog of an elite in one day.â€
â€œIf the NLC fails to come to our aid, the Ogun State Council of NUP is reiterating the fact that every state union is autonomous and Ogun NUP can decide a line of action to be taken if the neglect continues,” he concluded.
â€”Abiodun Onafuye/ Abeokuta