The 530 disengaged workers of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has appealed to the Federal Government to prevail on the management of the company to ensure that all their entitlements and salaries are paid accordingly.
A statement from the Secretary General of Disengaged Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) workers in May 2008, Mr. Victor Ibitamuno, said the call became necessary after the death of 10 of their members who they said died due to hardship and frustration resulting from the unpaid money by NPA.
Mr. Ibitamuno recalled that a high court sitting in Port Harcourt, which was presided over by one Justice Gladys Olotu sometime in 2009, directed an out-of-court settlement which the NPA failed, through their counsel, Bar. S. Acho Ochonma under the pretext that the road leading to the venue of the meeting was under construction.
The statement which described Ochonma’s excuse as flimsy, pointed to other matters in the court amid the construction works in the state.
He regretted that NPA could not still address their issue after the N5,000 fine slammed on them by the court, over their failure to appear before it during the first hearing.
According to him, the inability of the management of NPA to calculate and pay the disengaged workers on the monetised rate, was among other striking issues that made the body to take the court option.
Mr. Ibitamuno also explained that the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission has sometime in January 2008, granted an approval to the NPA for the full implementation of the said scheme with effect from same month and year.
On that ground, he stressed that the disengaged workers are entitled to five months arrears of monetisation, having retired from May 31, 2008.
In September 2010, they said, two months monetisation arrears was paid to them, leaving a balance of three months, which according to them, contradicted the earlier claim by NPA that they were not entitled for benefits.
The Tide also gathered that only retirees who have attained 50 years of age received a paltry sum of about N3,000 per month.
The above argument, they maintained, was drawn from the 2004 pension policy, adding that what was disbursed was deducted from July 2004 when the new pension reform policy was established.
He however, noted that the three months salary in lieu of notice in line with section 0427 CAP four of the Public Service Rules, laws of the Federation 2004, is still unpaid.