NASS workers continue protest, plenary’ll hold, mgt says

National Assembly workers resumed protest at the complex gate in Abuja on Thursday. The demonstration by the workers continued with a fuller force following a two-day break.

According to the executives of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, the protest, which started on Monday was put on hold on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the roadblock mounted on the roads for the All Progressive Congress Special Convention which was held at the Eagles Square.

Newsmen observed that there were more workers on the ground to protest as leisure activities like games had been included in their schedule for the strike. There was also the presence of a caterer who had been employed by the protesters to provide food all through the day.

The protest resumed again at 6 am on Thursday and was to be on till the close of the day, Punch learnt.

According to the protesters, they are using their working hours to demand their “rights, hence they resume at the protest ground as early as 6 am till the close of work in the evening. Most affected were the bank staff members and construction workers renovating the dilapidating main buildings in the assembly.

The association’s spokesperson, Amos Enobong, told newsmen that the strike is indefinite and might continue as long as their demands are left unmet.

He said, “The strike is still ongoing. It’s an indefinite strike which we will continue with until our demands are met. Today’s protest went well, in fact, we had more workers come out to protest.”

“We are yet to officially get an invitation for a dialogue with the management of the National Assembly. The last we heard from them was on Monday when their Human Resource Secretary came and the workers demanded that the clerk should address them officially,” PASAN PRO said.

“But till the end of the protest that day, the clerk didn’t come to address the people nor have we heard anything from him till today. So, the strike continues till they are willing to oblige our requests.”

In his response, the Media Aide the National Assembly Clerk, Austine Adesanwo, said the management was working tirelessly to meet the demands of the workers and that the plenary would resume as scheduled.

He said, “Management is making a frantic effort to find a lasting solution in consultation with all stakeholders. There will be light at the end of the tunnel.

“Plenary would be held as scheduled. Management is making efforts to have answers to provide whenever they are invited for a meeting. That will be very soon.”

The PUNCH reported that the workers had accused the management of the National Assembly of reneging on a Memorandum of Understanding it entered with the union to fully implement their Revised Condition of Service and the training and re-training of staff.

They also asked for the payment of arrears of minimum wage, leave grant and other allowances.

Both Senators and House of Representatives members extended their recess on May 8 to enable their political parties to conclude their primary elections. They are expected to resume plenary on Tuesday next week.