By Chinelo Obogo
Following threats by the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) to stage a nationwide protest over the non-implementation of the Condition of Service agreement between retirees and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), a senior management staff of the Authority has said that the retirees’ demands are unconstitutional and untenable.
The insider who prefers anonymity told Daily Sun that it the responsibility of the Salary and Wages Commission to determine what civil servants and retirees earn, hence, pensioners have no right to demand that the Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, implement any increase in allowance without recourse to the commission.
The NUP, FAAN branch threatened to embark on a nationwide protest from May 4th, 2021 if the management of the agency fails to implement their Conditions of Service (CoS) agreement. At a rally held at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, the national secretary of NUP, FAAN branch, Emeka Njoku, said the management of authority refused to implement recommended CoS as agreed by the committee set up by FAAN to negotiate the issue of disparity in salaries.
Njoku revealed that the committee recommended that 18 per cent increment should be paid to workers from level one to 14, to bridge the wage gap between those at level 14 and below and 15 and above. He said that rather than implement the agreement, the management of FAAN dragged in the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika into a matter which he says could have been handled by the agency.
He explained that the Act establishing FAAN gives the managing director all the powers to manage the affairs of the organisation and that while FAAN retirees are still trying to get 18 per cent, the federal government awarded 33 per cent to federal pensioners.
But the insider who spoke to Daily Sun said that the demands being made by the pensioners are illegal and that Capt. Yadudu knows he cannot flout public service rules.
“They are not being realistic. During the review of staff salaries, those from level 15 and above got domestic servant allowance and other allowances were added to other categories. All of a sudden, the pensioners said they want whatever increment that was added to staff salaries like hazard allowance to be added to theirs. The way civil service is, if for instance at the time I retire, I am being paid N1, 000, that is what I will continue receiving. But in FAAN, anytime there is any increment for staff, the pensioners would start protesting and insisting that they also benefit from the increase. That is not how it is supposed to be.
“They kept insisting on the demands and out of the magnanimity of the current managing director, said the pensioners should also benefit from the increase and that was the mistake he made. But when he gave them that concession, he said they should know that it is a one off thing and going forward, it would not continue in that manner. It is that temporary agreement authorised by the MD that they now want to become permanent.
“When domestic servant allowance was added to the salaries of those from level 15 and above, the junior staff started demanding that they must also receive the same allowance. Is that done anywhere? No managing director has the constitutional right to effect an increase in salaries or allowance without recourse to the Commission but the person instigating them to make these demands doesn’t know that. They believe that the MD can take such a decision himself without approval from the Commission. Their demands are not tenable and cannot fly because the public service rules are clear. There has already been a review of our conditions of service and we have gotten an increase. How can the junior officers say that whatever is given to the senior officers must also be given to them? It is not possible. It is an illegality,” the source said.