ABUJA — The National Assembly workers, under the umbrella of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), have embarked on a four-day strike as they shut the complex over unpaid allowances and delayed promotions.
The workers, who are demanding the payment of arrears of 28 per cent increase in their salaries since 2010, stormed the National Assembly in the early hours of yesterday blocking all entrances into the complex, preventing lawmakers, their aides and visitors from entry.
They also cut off essential services like power and water supply; effectively crippling any form of activity within the premises which have made all the 15 commercial banks operating at different segment of the complex to hurriedly closed down.
Also affected by the total paralysis of activities are indoor eateries within the complex whose members of staff were told to call it a day by their various management due to lack of electricity and water.
A member of the executive of PASAN, Odo Chris, while addressing the protesting workers at the entrance of the complex, said neither lawmakers, management members of staff from Grade Level 14 and above, nor visitors would be barred from the complex for the duration of the strike.
He said: “It is the members of the union that will not go in to work, everybody else can go in and do whatever they want to do.
“As a union, we don’t even have the power to stop Grade 14 officers and above from going in to perform their duties because they are not our members.
“I am appealing to you to be careful and apply wisdom as we carry out this strike because we have a law that guides us.
“This is not picketing, there should be no fighting and no breakdown of law and order.
“Right now, some of us will go in and shut off electricity supply. By the time the environment becomes unbearable for those that are working, they will leave as well.
“The President can go in and present his budget if the place is conducive enough”
Meanwhile, worried by the strike, the leadership of the National Assembly has called for an emergency meeting to save the situation.
Although no official statement has come from the management as at the time of filing in this report, the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan (APC Yobe North), assured journalists that the issue would be resolved.
Lawan said that the leadership of both chambers and management of the National Assembly planned an emergency meeting for way out of the problem.
However, Senate President Bukola Saraki has approved the names of 12 persons to be appointed as members of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC).