Workers’ protest paralyses activities at Head of Service office
NEWS DIGEST – Activities were on Wednesday morning paralysed at the section of the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, which houses the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Punch Newspaper reports.
Workers attached to the office embarked on a peaceful protest over alleged poor welfare and lack of training for years, among others.
The aggrieved workers also claimed that, out of the 16 elevators in the federal secretariat, only one was working as of the time of their protest.
They claimed that promotion arrears of some workers had not been paid.
A union leader, Mr. Ikediashi Uzoh, told reporters that the protest was spontaneous.
He said it only started after a meeting the workers had with representatives of the management in the morning.
“The management, after a second meeting, had agreed to meet the request of the staff immediately, hopefully by the end of this week,” Uzoh said.
Some of the protesting workers who spoke on the condition of anonymity gave further insights into their grievances in separate interviews with journalists.
One of them said that part of the problem was their Sallah bonus which he said had been slashed to N15,000 from N50,000.
He said this was despite the fact that the government still owed them the bonus of the last Sallah.
He also claimed that no staff member of the office had been trained in the last seven years.
He also said there was no longer staff buses to convey workers to work.
“They have been promising, but we buy working materials with our money to ensure the job is done, there are no materials in the store.
“We use our money to photocopy documents at business centres, and the toilets are appalling, they need maintenance,” he claimed.
While the protest was ongoing, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winnifred Oyo-Ita, was attending the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary, Common Services Office, Mr. Afolayan Olaniyi, however, addressed the protesting workers on her behalf.
Olaniyi told them that management, having contacted Oyo-Ita, had agreed to the terms of the union.
“The Head of the Civil Service has agreed to address your grievances,” he said.
The protest was held at Block A of the federal secretariat.
While the protest lasted, senior members of staff were not allowed to carry out their duties.
Normalcy has since returned to the secretariat as of the time of filing this report.